Issue - meetings
Review of Leisure, Libraries and Cultural Services Update - Floral Pavilion
Meeting: 26/11/2018 - Cabinet (Item 33)
Councillor Phillip Brightmore, Cabinet Member – Leisure and Recreation said:
“The Floral Pavilion is a fabulous facility, which brings enjoyment and no small measure of pride to thousands of residents throughout the borough. The theatre is approaching its 10th anniversary and has gone from strength to strength since being unveiled as the centrepiece of the Council-led regeneration of New Brighton.
The time has come for the Floral Pavilion to take the next stage on its development. We want this theatre to continue to grow, to attract bigger and better shows and become a visitor destination for the entire region. To get there, we believe we need
an expert theatre organisation to take over the business.
We want the Floral Pavilion to thrive. We want it to remain a place where residents can come together, a stunning waterfront facility which every Wirral resident can be proud of. We believe under the leadership of a specialised theatre company, the Floral Pavilion can look forward to its next ten years with huge confidence.
The Floral Pavilion would remain in public ownership, but become part of a specialised theatre chain – saving Wirral residents money, which can then be reinvested into services, and ensuring the products, services and shows on offer at the Floral improve”.
Councillor Phil Davies introduced a report by the Assistant Director – Community Services that informed that the Council provided extensive leisure, recreation, cultural, open space and library services. The cost to the Council of delivering these services was £17 million, when income from external funding was taken into account. The Council faced significant budget savings due to the removal of the revenue support grant and needed to review how services could be delivered effectively whilst reducing costs, especially for discretionary services.
The Cabinet noted that over the past year the Council had undertaken a detailed review of Leisure and Cultural Services to try and find ways of transforming these services to make them more sustainable, flexible and appropriate. The Council did not wish to be in a situation where it needed to consider closing or reducing services in order to balance its budget. The Council’s preference was for a model which allowed for discretionary services to generate their own funds so they could grow. There was no legal requirement for the Council to provide a theatre service either directly or indirectly.
It was reported that the Floral Pavilion currently cost the Council £899,300 per year to keep open. As a mid-scale (800 seat) receiving theatre, the Floral Pavilion was limited as to the performances it may attract, the percentage of ticket sales it may retain and the income it may generate. Whilst the Council could and would continue to develop new commercial opportunities within the facility – extended bar opening and maximising secondary spend, reviewing programming, developing marketing campaigns to attract new conference and wedding business among others; it was not thought that the Council could get the subsidy to ‘£0’ within the medium term using the ... view the full minutes text for item 33