Questioning Inspiration’s Coffee House cost control

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I read the article (Mail, February 13) relating to the possible closure of Inspiration’s Coffee House in Tanfield Road with some concern, but also with some surprise.

I visit the café on a regular basis and find the staff both pleasant and informative.

They serve probably the best coffee in the town, together with probably the finest selection of loose leaf teas in the area.

I have found the café an oasis in a desert of ordinariness.

So, from this point of view, I give credit to Hartlepool Borough Council for going ahead with the venture in the face of political posturing within the council.

What is of concern, however, is the reported loss.

As a now retired manager, having dealt with projects over many years, I would seriously question the cost control and management of this venture, through no fault of any of the café staff.

It would appear that the café has had its hands tied by council policies and buying procedures.

This has led to having to buy food at costs not necessarily the best value for money (as opposed to bulk buying).

Having not seen the business plan for the scheme, I have to question whether the plan was flawed from the outset.

Whether the figures quoted for the operating cost was as planned, or has overrun for a different reason, eg booking of time resource by council members not allied directly to the running of the cafe itself.

If the café has been running at a loss for the four years it has been operating, one has to question where the cost control was and, if evident, why there was no measures taken to limit the damage and put rectification measures in place.

What has been justified, however, as far as I am concerned were the arguments for siting the cafe in the location on the outskirts of the cemetery.

As far as I am aware, there have been no reported incidents of rowdy behaviour or mischief confounding the critic’s opposition concerns.

Mr Codner,

Millston Close,