Income shortfall at Hartlepool Town Hall Theatre and Borough Hall set to leave £75,000 gap in council funding
A shortfall in income from two Hartlepool venues is set to leave a £75,000 gap in council coffers.
Regeneration bosses have pledged to tackle a shortfall in income from the Town Hall Theatre and Borough Hall in Hartlepool, saying they would be looking at ways to increase the usage and revenue of the facilities.
Andrew Carter, council assistant director for economic growth and regeneration, said both assets need to improve, although the Borough Hall faces bigger problems.
He said: “It’s spread over both the assets, what I’d say is the biggest culprit, if you want to put it that way, would be the Borough Hall, because of the nature of the building it costs a lot more to run and the Town Hall Theatre is a bit more discreet.
“But it is both assets that are not meeting the income targets and we’re looking at strategies in order to bring them back into line.”
He added they had met with ‘numerous interested parties’ with regards to franchising the Borough Hall but it had not resulted in concrete interest to date, and he would update councillors in the future.
The issue was raised at the Hartlepool Borough Council Regeneration Services Committee, which heard was told the current budget for the department for 2019/20 is showing a £125,000 overspend.
Of the £125,000 regeneration overspend, £75,000 relates to the forecast shortfall in income at the Town Hall Theatre and Borough Hall, while £50,000 is due to “adverse variance” relating to income from strategic asset management.
In total the council as a whole is currently anticipating an overspend of £850,000 for 2019/20 which is mainly ‘owing to an increase in looked after children numbers and costs’.
A strategy to resolve the funding pressures is being developed and will be reported to Finance and Policy Committee later this month.
Council bosses have said the strategy will avoid a call on the unearmarked general fund reserve and will also avoid in-year budget cuts for 2019/20.
A report from finance chiefs noted the council had faced similar issues in each of the last three financial years, reflecting pressures in Children’s Services which are continuing, and affect the majority of councils.