CRITICS have raised concerns about the £100,000 Teignbridge Council is paying towards hosting Radio 1’s Big Weekend at Powderham.

The free two-day concert will feature Coldplay, Ellie Goulding and Craig David and is expected to attract 50,000 people on both days.

But the revelation that the district council has forked out so much money has raised some eyebrows.

The mayor of Dawlish, Cllr Howard Almond, pointed out that the hugely popular Dawlish air show attracted between 80,000 and 100,000 people but received no funding from the local authority.

He said: ‘This is a lot of money invested by Teignbridge Council and Exeter City Council.

‘Dawlish air show also attracts up to 100,000 people and it doesn’t get any money whatsoever.

‘In fact, Teignbridge Council charges the air show for use of the public toilets.

‘The impact the air show has is just as important as this free event at Powderham.’

But Cllr Humphrey Clemens described the event as ‘fantastic’.

He pointed out that the cash Teignbridge Council was putting up had to remain secret until the event was unveiled because Radio 1 bosses insisted total secrecy.

Had the authority not kept to the deal, Radio 1 had threatened to take the event elsewhere.

He said: ‘Radio 1 said they had to be the ones to announce it and it had to be kept secret because they said they would go elsewhere.’

Other critics have taken to social media querying the bill to Teignbridge Council.

One asked: ‘Why has rate payers’ money been used for this given all the cuts?’

Jeanette Pearson, writing on Exminster Online, agreed with Cllr Almond.

She asked: ‘Did Teignbridge Council give donations of this amount to Dawlish air show when you could see actual money being spent in local shops?’

But district councillor for Exminster John Goodey replied: ‘Teignbridge Council is often criticised for not doing anything for the youth of our community.

‘This is not just a pop concert. the BBC run seminars and workshops throughout the area in the weeks leading up to the Big Weekend event.

‘These events are designed to inspire 16 to 19-year-olds on career opportunities in the creative arts.

‘That alone makes this a very positive investment in our younger generation.

‘Last year’s host Norwich have stated they calculate that the event they hosted was worth an uplift of £5 million to the local economy, apart from an ongoing boost to their tourist trade.’

Former parish council chairman Caroline Aird wrote: ‘Everyone is happy that a large, popular event is being hosted down the road. Businesses in both Teignbridge and Exeter can benefit.

‘No council can ever categorically say what the return will be, leap of faith.’

The Big Weekend, Radio 1’s flagship live music event,  is coming to 600-year-old Powderham Castle in May.

After the announcement last week, Teignbridge Council leader Cllr Jeremy Christophers said: ‘Teignbridge Council cannot wait to welcome Radio 1 and some of the world’s top artists to this beautiful part of Devon.’

Details of how to obtain the free tickets will be announced in March.