WE HAVE questioned before in this column whether, in these times of austerity for the public sector, it is right for local authorities to run things like theatres.

And we believe that those times are probably long gone.

We have seen leisure trusts being created across the country to take over the management of leisure centres and services.

So it is not surprising that Newport city Council is now considering different options for the future of the city’s 10-year-old Riverfront Theatre and Arts Centre.

Clearly it has had a lot of public money spent on it over the past 10 years.

And it offers a whole variety of different arts events from theatre and dance, to comedy, music and even cinema, that you can’t get elsewhere in one place in the city.

For that it is cherished and incredibly popular.

If the decision is made to move to a different model of ownership or management all of these things have to be borne in mind.

And there still has to be some value for the council tax payer as well.

The council is hoping any new move would save it £300,000 a year.

That is not an insignificant sum.

And while there may be some uncertainty caused by the review into what steps to take, we do believe that in the long run the theatre, and hence the people who use it, could well benefit.