This year’s bill for Apex – £775k

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THE Apex in Bury St Edmunds is expected to cost taxpayers £775,000 this year.

Figures revealed this week showed that while the venue is performing well, more money is needed to subsidise it.

A report to councillors showed that the subsidy for 2012/13 had shot up following a £153,307 overspend last year.

The sell out Levellers gig earlier this year brought in £13,500 in ticket sales but the Apex benefited by just £140, although the bar took £4,000.

Cllr Christopher Spicer, vice-chairman of the performance and audit scrutiny committee, said: “Having accepted we were £150,000 over on a budget of £583,000 it isn’t very nice to see we’re budgeting to effectively subsidise this whole Apex to a tune of £775,000.” 

The report did, however, show that the £18.7million building is on target for this year’s budget and last year brought £5.2 million to the local economy.

In The Apex’s first year, the council expected to front £583,150 but instead forked out £736,457. This year the figure is expected to rise to £775,600.

In the report to the committee, Tony Doherty, venues director for the authority, noted that putting on a range of professional concerts at The Apex was ‘unlikely to be profitable overall’.

Mr Doherty said: “Break even remains the target we are working towards.”

Budget targets so far this year are being met after the venue recorded an overspend of £3,193 of its £237,315 budget from April to June.

So far the box office has made £4,838 in profit and in the past nine months hire bookings generated £145,000.

Profits from the cafe bar are expected to increase ‘considerably’ when Sodexo Prestige takes over catering in November.

Mr Doherty added: “Audience figure trends for all genres of performance on offer at The Apex are on an upward trajectory, commercial income continues to grow and the venue is in a strong position to develop under whatever management model is chosen.”

It is expected the subsidy will start to reduce from next year.

St Edmundsbury is now examining forming a joint management trust for The Apex and the Theatre Royal which could save between £135,000 to £150,000.