Proms in the Park causes skirmish in the city

A city council in the UK has been called out for spending £100,000 on a summer outdoor concert in what has been ‘branded a costly vanity project’ by opposition councillors, reports the Birmingham Post.

The argument is in response to Royal Sutton Town Council agreeing to subsidise a City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) Proms in the Park concert and festival taking place from 1-2 July this year.

Residents of Sutton Coldfield will be able to buy subsided tickets from as little as £10 for adults, with family and child concessions available.

The council, which is Conservative-led, has been criticised by opposition councillors for its decision, with independent candidate Paul Long (Sutton Vesey) commenting: ‘This is an unnecessary expenditure and a waste of £100,000 of residents’ money when it could be self-funding. This whole proposal has been ill-thought through and seems to be a desperate attempt to spend money rather than spending it on something that will benefit all residents. It’s a vanity project.’

Labour’s Rob Pocock (Sutton Vesey) added: ‘100,000, the entire budget to me is excessive. That’s extravagant.’

In defence of the decision, Conservative Simon Ward (Sutton Four Oaks) commented: ‘It’s great we have been able to bring the CBSO. Classical music is not elitist, it’s just a different kind of music. It’s just been around for a bit longer.

‘Nothing’s easy to deliver and nothing is cheap. We don’t want to have to spend £100,000 if we can find ways to reduce the costs, but if we don’t set the money aside the event won’t be ready for the beginning of July.’

Proms in the Park will include events by local artists and performers and a free mini-orchestra CBSO show for children on 2 July.