FOUR council-run cafe services could be closed as part of a local authority’s latest round of cost-cutting measures.
Hartlepool Borough Council’s director of Regeneration and Neighbourhoods, Denise Ogden, has shone the spotlight on the four town eateries putting their futures in doubt.
The report, which will be presented to the council’s Policy and Finance Committee to be considered, says that all four services are running at a “net loss and are no longer viable”.
It blames the recession for their downfalls and suggests that the facilities be either closed, replaced with vending machines, or retained for events purposes only.
The earmarked services include:
l the Art Gallery Coffee Shop, inside Hartlepool Art Gallery, in Church Square, which could be closed or replaced with a vending machine,
l the Wingfield Castle Coffee Shop, in Hartlepool’s Maritime Experience, which may be shut or kept for functions and events,
l the Central Library Coffee Shop, in York Road, which could be closed and replaced with a vending machine,
l the take-away service to council staff working in the Civic Centre, in Victoria Road, which could also be axed.
The Inspirations Coffee House, on the site of the council’s Tanfield Road nursery has been saved due to its age and its future financial position being undeterminable at this stage.
The Buffet/Function Service based at Golden Flatts School, in Seaton Lane – which until recently provided the Civic Centre take-away service – also looks to have a more stable future.
The report recommends it be relocated to the Inspirations Coffee House as part of a “broader business model”.
The report states: “As with any catering establishment, it is extremely challenging to provide a service in the ongoing recession. Circumstances beyond our control can impact financially on any given day. It could be as widespread as what the weather is like, if a road is temporarily closed, if there are events on, and more importantly what disposable income the customer has.”
It went onto say that a further challenge was having to pay staff enhanced rates at weekends and Bank Holidays.
It added: “It is apparent that the council cannot continue to provide the number of coffee houses it currently does” The committee will meet at the Civic Centre on Thursday, at 9.30am.