Aberdeen’s iconic Beach Ballroom will remain a council-run venue after the city abandoned plans to outsource it to the private sector.
Local authority leaders said they now believed it was the best option for the taxpayer and hoped the decision would be welcomed by the public as the beachfront building celebrates its 90th birthday.
The council will retain control of all operations and will be responsible for managing and financing the B-listed ballroom into the future – under proposals to be put to councillors on the strategic commissioning committee next week.
And they are also being called upon to back long-term plans, worth £2 million, to secure the future of the venue.
Savings of around £146,000 a year had been calculated by council officials if a firm took over its running.
But the report said the savings had already been found by officers through “a combination of staff and cost reduction.”
Under the plans, the council would have retained ownership but a private firm would have run operations under a franchise agreement.
But yesterday council co-leader Jenny Laing confirmed that franchising plans for the “much loved” venue would not be proceeding and that the local authority would retain control of all operations.
The building was once described as “Scotland’s finest ballroom” and regularly stages music and dance events, conferences, weddings, charity gigs and British Masters Boxing bouts.
The Beatles performed their only Aberdeen concert there in 1963, while Pink Floyd played the same venue in 1967.
Aberdeen Labour councillor Mrs Laing said: “It is imperative that we keep firm control of our budgets and ensure we secure best value for Aberdeen taxpayers.
“Therefore I am delighted that, following a review by council officers, the best option to achieve this is for the council to retain the Beach Ballroom service delivery in-house under the ownership and management of Aberdeen City Council.
“I am sure Aberdeen residents will be delighted that the iconic Beach Ballroom is to remain under the ownership and management of the council as it moves towards its 90th birthday.”
A spokesman for Unite, which had vehemently opposed the outsourcing of the venue, welcomed the U-turn, saying: “This is good news not just for the workers at the ballroom but the citizens of Aberdeen themselves.”
Opposition SNP group leader Stephen Flynn said: “The Beach Ballroom is an amazing asset for this city and it’s ridiculous we’ve had this level of uncertainty for so long despite repeated calls for the administration to safeguard its future. Ultimately, I am absolutely delighted that they have finally listened to staff and trade unions who have rightly argued that the ballroom can be a success if we choose to invest in its future.”