SuperDragons unlikely to return to Newport
8:20am Tuesday 29th January 2013 in News
SUPERDRAGONS is unlikely to return to Newport according to the woman in charge of the city's leisure and culture decisions.
Cabinet member Debbie Wilcox has gone ahead with a proposal to cut the council's arts and events development budget by £150,000, which will see some events such as SuperDragons and Comedy Port only return if alternative funding can be found.
But she told the Argus that SuperDragons itself is "unlikely to come back in its present form".
"However we would be looking at similar ventures that so beautifully capture the imagination of Newport residents," she said.
"We're experiencing unprecedented cuts from the Tory-led coalition in Westminister.
"In such times of hardship its important for my portfolio to look at ways that we can engage the cultural heart of Newport."
She suggested, however, that any such similar project would require sponsorship.
Sales and sponsorship of the 2012 SuperDragons raised £68,831 towards the project which cost £141,886 over two financial years.
A total of 22 were sponsored and 11 were sold, the council said.
The Argus reported last week that Cllr Wilcox was considering cutting the events and arts development budget will be cut by £150,000.
In the package of savings small community grants, the Comedy Port Festival and large-scale community art projects like SuperDragons will either need external funding or not take place.
SuperDragons ran in 2010 and 2012, with colourful fibreglass dragon figures placed across the city decorated by local artists.
A total of 60 were made in 2012, and in both years children and parents could follow the SuperDragons trial and tick off the ones they find across the city.
In 2010 almost £100,000 was raised for charity when the dragons were auctioned off at the Riverfront Theatre. Martyn Hazell, Newport Gwent Dragons director, himself bought six of the items.
Most of the 2012 SuperDragons went to auction in December but 25 were to be sold via sealed bids submitted directly to Newport council. Ten that were paid for by companies were returned to their sponsor.
NEWPORT Art Gallery's temporary exhibition programme has been scrapped under a series of cuts approved by Cllr Wilcox.
The Argus previously reported that Cllr Wilcox was considering a number of cost measures under her leisure and culture cabinet portfolio.
Newport council's squash court complex at the Newport International Sports Village in Spytty is to shut, while daytime operation at the Active Learning Centre in Bettws is to end during term time.
The squash courts, said to have been vacant 84 per cent of the time in the last 51 weeks, will close from April 1.
Although the decisions are themselves detailed in a public report, the council has decided not to publish background reports previously obtained by the Argus explaining the moves.
A council document says the reports contains exempt or confidential information.