Park cafe pre­dicted to leave £190k hole in coun­cil funds

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - FRONT PAGE -

While coun­cil­lors were ar­gu­ing about whether they could af­ford to take £50,000 from the mu­seum’s bud­get, money was drain­ing away else­where.

Mem­bers of the her­itage, cul­ture and leisure com­mit­tee meet­ing last Tues­day learned that the Mote Park Cafe run by the coun­cil was in se­ri­ous trou­ble.

It should have made a profit of £84,416 by the end of De­cem­ber. In­stead it had al­ready made a loss of £68,383.

Mark Green, the direc­tor of fi­nance, was pre­dict­ing a loss of £151,520 by the end of March, leav­ing a £197,000 hole in the coun­cil’s bud­get.

The bad news was only par­tially off­set by sav­ings else­where. The coun­cil has not spent as much in sports de­vel­op­ment as it had planned, sav­ing nearly £30,000, and sales for ser­vices at the cre­ma­to­rium were boom­ing, bring­ing in an ex­tra £51,000

‘If the cafe were in pri­vate hands, would it be al­lowed to run like this?’

in­come be­yond what had been ex­pected.

The sit­u­a­tion at the cafe, which has suf­fered from fewer customers than pre­dicted, is be­ing ur­gently re­viewed and will be re­ported to coun­cil­lors monthly in fu­ture.

Cllr Dave Naghi (Lib Dem) said: “You have to ask, if the cafe were in pri­vate hands, would it be al­lowed to run like this?”

A coun­cil spokesman said: “The coun­cil has been run­ning the Mote Park cafe for a lit­tle over a year, and it is cor­rect that the trad­ing per­for­mance since then has not met our ini­tial ex­pec­ta­tions.

“We con­tinue to make op­er­a­tional ad­just­ments that we ex­pect will im­prove the sit­u­a­tion and we are con­tin­u­ing to ex­plore new and im­proved vis­i­tor fa­cil­i­ties within the park that will im­prove the over­all vis­i­tor ex­pe­ri­ence and cre­ate stronger long term rev­enues.”

Cllr Dave Naghi

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.