Concerns have been raised about losses being recorded by Luxfords, the Uckfield Town Council-run restaurant in the Civic Centre.
Figures revealed this week show that the deficit for this financial year reached £25,000 with a councillor claiming it could hit £30,000 by the end of March.
Financial information on Luxfords performance was put before the town council’s general purposes committee on Monday (February 18).
Worries over the restaurant’s performance echo similar concerns last month over the drop in income for the Weald Hall, also part of the Civic Centre.
The budget for the Weald Hall until the end of December was £31,000. Actual income was £11,310. See our report here
At Monday’s meeting, the committee vice-chairman, Cllr Paul Sparks, said he was a keen supporter of the Luxfords restaurant but was becoming concerned with the trading situation.
“If you look at these actual results to the end of the year [December], it is a showing a trading loss of £25,000,” he said.
“It doesn’t look as if things are going to markedly improve.
“I would not be surprised if, at the end of the financial year, we did not end up with a loss of around £30,000.
“We need to look very carefully at that.”
Cllr Sparks said he was keen that the restaurant was maintained because it “helps the overall Civic Centre”.
He added: “Clearly, we should not be running a restaurant that creates such a large financial loss.
“You have to question where that money is coming from if we do lose £30,000 at the end of the year.
“Where are we going to find £30,000?
“You will be aware that the budget-setting process [for 2019/2020] set a budget for the restaurant to make a loss.”
Cllr Sparks said the figure was lower at around £15,000.
“In a break-even situation, I am entirely comfortable with that. If we can make money, great; but I am very uncomfortable when we start losing money, especially to the levels being shown in these accounts.”
Committee chairman, Cllr Diane Ward, said councillors should remember that Luxfords was closed in December for a week over Christmas and for a week in the autumn when refurbishment took place.
However, she added: “It is something, obviously, we are looking into.”
When the drop in income for the Weald Hall became public, Cllr Ward said a meeting of the Civic Centre working group should be called to discuss the situation.
From our files
A comment column on this website in 2015 described Uckfield Civic Centre as a “problem child”.
The remark followed a report of a town council meeting where there was talk of losses and one then town councillor had said that if the Civic Centre and restaurant was a commercial operation “we would probably have gone bust by now”.
At the time it was agreed to see if the running of the restaurant and meeting rooms could be outsourced and run private enterprise. However, this did not happen.
In 2011 Freedom Leisure took over running events at the Civic Centre but after a trail period bowed out.
See our report from April 2015 here
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