A revamped cafe at one of Hartlepool’s biggest leisure facilities is to be run by Hartlepool Borough Council.
The local authority is set to spend £16,000 on upgrading the existing cafe facility at Summerhill with a “rustic and elegant Scandinavian” theme.
I prefer it to be us making the money rather than a private organisation just making profits for themselvesCouncillor Chris Simmons
Councillors on the Finance and Policy Committee went against the recommendation of officers who advised them to go out to tender for an outside provider to run it for one year to start with.
But the majority of councillors said they were confident the local authority could make a profit and voted to keep it in house for 12 months.
The cafe had been run at Summerhill by private provider Liberty Catering Solutions since 2012.
But the council served notice on the lease which expired just before Christmas after a council catering review found the cafe area was in need of upgrading.
Councillor Chris Simmons said: “I would think it is a very badly run operation that couldn’t make money out of the Summerhill cafe and I prefer it to be us making the money rather than a private organisation just making profits for themselves.”
But Coun Paul Thompson said he was apprehensive, citing the council-run Inspirations Cafe at Stranton Cemetery, which was said in December not to have made a profit yet.
“I think there is less risk to the council and guaranteed money if we go for an external relationship.”
Coun Marjorie James said: “Hartlepool Borough Council would be subsidising a private sector organisation by covering all the set up costs and allowing them to run it at a profit.”