Underperforming ‘Big Screen’ to be sold off

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Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Business and Culture Committee have agreed to get rid of the huge open air cinema screen in Waterloo Place after it emerged it had failed to attract the visitor numbers and revenues projected in a business case seven years ago.

The council’s Head of Culture Aeidin McCarter told members the screen was costing £20,000 a year, mostly in rental and electricity charges, and that there was no budget for any content.

She said £15,000 from the council’s festival and events budget was committed towards rental costs but that this no longer represented value for money and would be better spent elsewhere.

The screen was originally installed in time for the 2012 Olympiad following discussions between the old Derry City Council, the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, and the old Department for Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL).

However, a business case that hoped up to 50,000 people would watch the Olympics, various City of Culture events and the Commonwealth Games and World Cup in 2014, fell far wide of the mark.

In her report to the committee Ms. McCarter stated: “The projected income to Council was from stall rents and some sponsorship of the screen itself in later years.”

However, she continued: “The visitor numbers to the events in Waterloo Place were never as high as anticipated and therefore the projected income did not materialise. The location of site itself has not proved to be as successful as originally anticipated.”

The committee endorsed a recommendation to sell.