By Alan Robertson
A SCOTS council facing a financial black hole is planning to spend 30,000 replacing golf signs.
Angus Council has invited bidders to tender for the replacement of banner signs on approach roads to Carnoustie ahead of the arrival of the Women’s British Open next month.
The project comes as the local authority prepares to tackle a funding shortfall of almost 35m over the next four years.
A report to go before councillors reveal a four-year financial black hole of as much as 34.3 million facing the local authority between next year and 2016.
Under the plan,
“dorsal banner signs’ on columns at 16 locations in and around Carnoustie are to be replaced ahead of the Open.
Emma Boon, campaign director at The TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:
“Taxpayers will wonder why they are forking out tens of thousands of pounds for banners to promote this event.
“It might bring people to the area, but with the golf industry attracting billions in endorsements there’s no reason why private sponsorship couldn’t be found for this advertising.
“The council needs to think carefully before spending taxpayers’ money and start looking at ways to make savings. “
Councillor David May, tourism spokesperson for Angus Council, defended the expense as an opportunity of
“encouraging return visits’ to the community.
“The tourism banners were introduced in and around Carnoustie in 2007 to promote the many attractions of Angus to the thousands of visitors who flock to Carnoustie Country to both play and watch top class golf.
“We are now replacing the graphic panels on the banners, as was always planned, to ensure that they continue to present the best possible picture of Angus to visitors, who this year include the thousands of international golf visitors, associated global media and world wide businesses who will be attending the Women’s Open Championship in July. “
The move is not the first linked to the Open to trigger criticism of the cash-strapped council.
In March this year it was revealed councillors had approved a 50,000 deal to hire a top female professional golfer as a brand
“ambassador’ for the upcoming competition.
Catriona Matthew, the first Scot to win the Women’s Open, signed a two-year contract with Angus Council designed to promote the area during the four-day event.? “
The tournament – to be played at the renowned Carnoustie course for the first time in its 36-year history – takes place from 28th July to 31st July.