Cardiff council taxpayers have been left with a 1.1 million pound bill following the closure of the Doctor Who Experience, which ran in the city for five years.
The building housing the experience was built by Cardiff City Council, using money from the Welsh Government's Invest to Save Fund, which provides financial support, on a competitive and repayable basis, to public service organisations across Wales. The cost of £2.4 million, was intended to be repaid by receiving a percentage of the exhibition ticket sales. However, it appears that ticket sales were not sufficient for the council to cover its costs, leaving ratepayers to pick up the shortfall.
Councillor Russell Goodway, Cardiff's cabinet member for investment and development, said
In 2011 when the deal was done to subsidise the Doctor Who attraction in order to bring it to Cardiff, the then-administration worked on the basis of ambitious projections for visitor numbers. Unfortunately the projected visitor numbers failed to materialise leaving the shortfall which should have been made up in ticket sales. This has left the council having to make up the £1.1m which will have to be absorbed by the council's budget. We are, however, working on plans for the building with the Welsh Government although nothing has yet been finalised.
The building, next door to the BBC Studios at Cardiff Bay, has been empty since the exhibition closed last September.
A spokeswoman for BBC Worldwide said:
The Doctor Who Experience was enjoyed by fans for five years in Cardiff Bay during its lease with Cardiff Council.The lease ran for its full, five year term and there was no additional loan agreement. We cannot comment on Cardiff Council's own business plan in relation to the site.
Adrian Robson, leader of the Conservative opposition on Cardiff Council said:
I still don't know how we managed to lose over a million pounds on Doctor Who. Somewhere the council and [BBC Worldwide] have not got their projections right for visitor numbers. It's very strange because this is a global brand.
Source/Doctor Who TV
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