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Airbourne: Council leader orders inquiry
COUNCIL leader David Tutt has called for a top-to-tail review of what went wrong with this year's Airbourne event
The inquiry was ordered after official figures showed only 48,000 people watched the airshow from the fenced off pay-to-view enclosure.
The official line from the council this week was that the Beijing Olympics, the economic climate - as well as ADVERTISEMENTthe controversial 5 charge - may well have also played a part in keeping visitors away.
Councillor Tutt admitted charging members of the public had been a gamble which had failed to pay off.
He said, "This is a blow for Eastbourne Borough Council and well short of predicted numbers. Airbourne is an extremely important event for Eastbourne with wide media coverage.
"However, local council tax payers have sent us a clear message. They do not want to pay for Airbourne, either by increases in council tax or by charging.
"Due to mounting costs to set up the show, and no response from any major potential sponsor, Eastbourne Borough Council had no choice but to levy a charge for the first time in 2008.
"We can only conclude that both visitors and residents did not sufficiently value the show enough to pay to visit it. With high set up costs set to stay, serious questions will be raised about the structure of the event in the future.
"We will be investigating what went right, what went wrong and looking very seriously at ways of ensuring the event for future years."
The council leader said he hoped this year's event would not be the last.
"Although nothing can be ruled out, Airbourne fans can be assured that this administration will do all that it can to ensure that there is an event for 2009," said Cllr Tutt.
"The provisional dates are August 13 - 16."
Cllr Tutt said he wanted to pass on his thanks to the sponsors, the staff who worked on the event, the traders and all the paying spectators who supported the show.
Airbourne enthusiasts can keep up to date by becoming a Friend of Airbourne online at www.visiteastbourne.com or www.eastbourneairshow.co.uk
22 August, 2008

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