An organisation which supports local businesses has moved out of The Apex, in Bury St Edmunds, after facing a price hike.
Menta, which runs monthly coffee mornings to enable businesses to network, was asked to pay in the region of £500 to hire The Gallery space at the prestigious building in the arc.
It had used the building for free for the past four years, just paying for teas and coffees, according to business development and marketing manager Leanne Castle.
She said: “It seems a massive shame and I don’t feel we’re wanted. There is absolutely no way we can run these at that price.”
Menta have now moved to the Bury Town clubhouse at Ram Meadow for their future networking sessions.
The Bury Free Press was quoted a commercial rate of £900 for half a day’s hire at the gallery space. The multi-million building is owned by St Edmundsbury Borough Council but its catering is managed by Sodexo Prestige which manages some of its bookings. The council subsidises the cost of the building but this is decreasing.
The last review showed the building’s budget had dropped from £742,250 in 2013/14 to £592,000 for 2015/16.
A council spokesman said: “Our catering partner Sodexo manages third party bookings where refreshments are required. We understand that Menta was approached to start paying more towards the costs of staff time and refreshments provided by Sodexo and, as a result, decided to move its networking event elsewhere. The council enjoys a good working relationship with Menta, and will continue to do so irrespective of where it chooses to hold its events in the future.”
A spokesman for Sodexo said: “We support a number of local charities and community groups with concessionary rates for holding events at The Apex, which we review from time to time to ensure as many local groups as possible can benefit.”