Harrogate Borough Council is reviewing the use and operation of the Royal Hall following a disappointing year.
During the financial year 2010/11 there were 57 events held in the Hall resulting in 95 days of occupation. The 57 events consisted of 8 commercial entertainment events and 49 local community group events.
The lettings revenue was £176,251 and of this, 5 events accounted for 35.2% of the total.
The prior two years lettings revenue have been £163,933 for 2008/09 and £138,538 for 2009/10.
During 2010/11 there was a Net Operating Loss of £364,561 and this accounted for 39.4% of the the total £925,208 Net Operating Loss of the Harrogate International Centre (HIC). There is a projected £246,125 loss for 2011/12.
Angus Houston the HIC Director will report to the Council Cabinet on the 22 June 2011 with a number of options and recommendations.
The options being considered are:
The closure of the Royal Hall resulting in ongoing costs estimated at £150K pa to meet building maintenance and utility costs. The HIC have indicated that this option has been considered for completeness of the review and does not have any support within the council. Additionally there are contractual obligations between HBC and the Heritage Lottery Fund which would likely have financial implications.
The HIC continues to run the venue with result of a continued cost of £246K pa to meet staffing costs, rates, building maintenance and utilities.
A third party management contract is awarded but this is likely to require an operating subsidy of £190K pa to meet building maintenance and utility costs.
A lease with a commercial operator or a lease with a not for profit organisation is made but this would likely require a subsidy of £140K pa.
The booking office function of the HIC will also be reviewed and although the cost is reducing from £248,888 during 2010/2011 to an estimated £66,685 for 2011/2012, there is a proposal to move this function to the Harrogate Theatre with a fee paid to the Theatre for each ticket sold.
The full outcome of this review will become clearer following HBC Cabinet review of the possible options.