Your Councillors

Cobtree Manor Estate Charity Committee

26th January 2017

Is the final decision on the recommendations in this report to be made at this meeting?

Yes

 

Cobtree Manor Park Visitor Centre/Café Update

 

Final Decision-Maker

Cobtree Manor Estate Charity Committee

Lead Head of Service

Head of Regeneration and Economic Development

Lead Officer and Report Author

Jason Taylor – Parks and Leisure Manager

Classification

Public

Wards affected

Boxley

 

 

This report makes the following recommendations to this Committee:

1.   The Committee is asked to note the contents of Visitor Centre/Café Update.

 

 

This report relates to the following corporate priorities:

·         Keeping Maidstone Borough an attractive place for all -

·         Ensuring that there are good leisure and culture facilities

 

 

Timetable

Meeting

Date

Cobtree Manor Estate Charity Committee

26th January 2017



Cobtree Manor Park Visitor Centre/Café Update

 

 

1.        PURPOSE OF REPORT AND EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

1.1         The information in the report is to update the committee on the performance of the Cobtree Manor Park Visitor Centre as agreed at the Committees 3rd August 2016 meeting.

1.2        Within this report is a table which shows the financial performance of the Visitor Centre/ Café since it opened in August 2015.

1.3         Appendix 1 gives an update of the Cobtree Manor Park Café Business Review which initially took place in July 2016. It details the perceived problems at the time and the remedial action taken.

 

 

2.        INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

 

2.1                     The Cobtree Manor Visitor Centre/ Café opened in August 2015, and has been operational for 18 months.

2.2                    The financial performance of the café and visitor centre is included in the report on the Cobtree Manor Estate Financial Position elsewhere on this agenda.  The table below is taken from that report shows the full year budget net expenditure for the café/visitor centre of £72,940, but the forecast outturn is now predicting a net expenditure of £94,670, which is £21,370 greater than the budget.



2.3                    Below is a breakdown of the month on month café/ visitor centre costs and income from when the facility opened to the current time




2.4                    Observations from this table are:

2.5                     There is now less reliance on employment agency staff, which has resulted in a reduction in total staffing costs. Agency staff are now only used as a last resort to cover staff sickness.

2.6                    Sales (income) has continually increased. Particularly when compared to the same months in 2015.

2.7                    Service costs include utilities, waste disposal, cleaning, building maintenance, IT and equipment servicing. These are costs of running the whole visitor centre building not just the café.

2.8                    The café is now attracting customers who only come to the park to eat. This not only results in café income but also increases car parking income.

2.9                    Currently we are looking at ways to improve the speed that customers are served at busy times, by increasing the counter space to allow for self-service and a second till. It is hoped that this will include an outdoor serving hatch to reduce queuing inside the building.

2.10                 Enclosed as Appendix 1 is the update of the Cobtree Café Business Review previously brought to this Committee for information.

 

 

3.        AVAILABLE OPTIONS

 

3.1                     The committee could choose not to note the information contained in this report and Appendix 1, and do nothing, however the committee has requested regular updates on the Visitor Centre/ Café performance.

 

 

4.        PREFERRED OPTION AND REASONS FOR RECOMMENDATIONS

 

4.1    It is recommended that the information in this report and Appendix  1 regarding the performance of the Café/ Visitor Centre is noted.

 

5.       CONSULTATION RESULTS AND PREVIOUS COMMITTEE FEEDBACK

 

5.1         The committee has previously resolved to receive regular updates on performance of the Café/ Visitor Centre.

 

6.       NEXT STEPS: COMMUNICATION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DECISION

 

6.1         Any comments from the Committee will be passed on to the relevant parties.

 

 

7.       CROSS-CUTTING ISSUES AND IMPLICATIONS

 

Issue

Implications

Sign-off

Impact on Corporate Priorities

The work of the charity links

directly to its charitable objects

and the corporate priorities of

the Council.

Head of

Regeneration and Economic

Development

Risk Management

Risks to running the estate are

dealt with in the annual Estate

Risk Management Report.

 

Financial

Financial risks are considered in

the ongoing finance updates.

Cobtree

Finance

Officer

Staffing

No implications.

 

Legal

No implications.

Deputy Head

of the Legal

Partnership

Equality Impact Needs Assessment

No implications.

 

Environmental/Sustainable Development

No implications.

 

Community Safety

No implications.

 

Human Rights Act

No implications.

 

Procurement

No implications.

 

Asset Management

No implications.

 

 

8.        REPORT APPENDICES

 

The following documents are to be published with this report and form part of the report:

·         Appendix 1: Cobtree Manor Park Update Report January 2017

 

9.        BACKGROUND PAPERS

 

None