Shay loses £100k in a year

THE Shay Stadium lost over £100,000 in its first year of operation.

More than £5 million of taxpayers’ money has been spent on refurbishing the east stand and council officials expected an immediate surplus.

But a report to councillors says figures have had to be modified, partly due to space in the stand remaining undeveloped and therefore yielding no income.

Ironically, FC Halifax Town takes its major money-spinning events away from the Shay and to the Cedar Court Hotel, Bradford, where it can accommodate more than 500 diners compared to fewer than 300 in the east stand.

Its end-of-season awards will be held at the Bradford hotel on May 7 and follow a sportsman’s dinner there earlier this year.

The council’s community panel will tomorrow discuss future options for the Shay including extending commercial events to attract more revenue.

Also possible is using vacant space for council office accommodation or sub-letting it to the private sector.

Event Management Catering runs hospitality functions and generated £57,000 profit for the council and after deducting associated costs the surplus will be used to offset the operating shortfall.

Officers have drawn up longer-term plans for the Shay and say the most realistic option is for it to stay in council control following the recent investment.

Other options include selling out to a private investor; leasing to a trust company or a management buy-out.

“As with the need for a fully revised and detailed business case there is also a need for a robust review of future governance,” says communities director Robin Tuddenham.

“The Shay Stadium offers great potential for future growth in sport and event management.

“There remain challenges to realise this potential fully.”

The council took control of the Shay in September 2008 ahead of its redevelopment following the surrender of the Shay Stadium Trust’s lease.

Figures showing a projected out turn for the year 2010/11 reveal a deficit of £118,000.

“We now have a clearer picture of the full costs involved,” said Mr Tuddenham.

“There are costs which need to be addressed and we need to look at options as to how we do this.”

The council’s involvement with the Shay has been dogged by controversy.

When councillors were asked in 2006 if they supported plans to sell the Shay to the highest bidder, four said no, 15 said yes, 15 dodged the question and 15 failed to respond.