A leading St Edmundsbury councillor has pledged to reduce the £750,000 subsidy for The Apex after latest figures reveal the authority spent less than expected on the venue so far this year.
Cllr Sarah Stamp, cabinet member for heritage, arts and culture, says they are currently £32,300 up on budget targets due to savings and increased revenue.
The figure was highlighted in an interim annual performance report for The Apex, which noted it ‘would be reasonable to assume the venue will be within its overall budget for 2013/14’.
Bosses expect a catering contract with Sodexo and a new commercial team after a staffing restructure will lead to further cuts in the subsidy.
Cllr Stamp, who chairs a performance panel scrutinising The Apex, said: “I remain committed to reducing the level of subsidy required to operate The Apex, whilst maintaining it as a high quality venue which brings many social and economic benefits to the arts and cultural offering across West Suffolk. Both our new staffing structure, which includes the appointment of a commercial team, and our partnerships, most significantly with Sodexo, are enabling us to move closer to this objective.”
The report adds Sodexo’s ‘overall income targets will be lower than projected’ to October over the whole contract including the Athenaeum and Abbey Gardens but ‘there are signs it is steadily catching up’ with the company setting up a new staffing structure. Cllr Stamp added Sodexo has invested in the cafe, outside seating, has started marketing the venue for events and begun to establish demand, which will lead to the contract ‘fulfilling its potential’.