19th August 2019 – Princess Management

Minutes of the Princess Management Committee meeting held on Monday 19th August at 7pm in The Old Courthouse, Jaycroft Road.

Present: Cllrs L. Parkin (Chairman), P Clayton, N Tolley, S Barber, D Carey, P Harvey, A Hodge, M Murphy, C Winfield with Sam Winter (Town Clerk), Craig Denny (Acting Manager of the Princess Theatre), Sally Jones (Responsible Finance Officer) and Steve Matthews (Project Coordinator for the CIM fund grant)

Ten members of the public were in attendance.

Public participation:

A resident spoke to express dissatisfaction with Management Committee regarding the financial performance of the Princess Theatre & Arts Centre. Committee members responded to issues raised and directed the resident to speak with the Finance Officer.

45/19/PMC    Apologies   

                        There were no apologies.

46/19/PMC    Declarations of Interest in items on this agenda

                        No interests were declared.

47/19/PMC    Approval of minutes

The minutes of the Princess Management Committee meeting held on 18th June 2019 were approved as a correct record and signed by the chairman.

48/19/PMC    Action List

The Action List was reviewed and noted.

The chairman changed the sequence of agenda items to allow the update on the CIM fund to be dealt with first.

49/19/PMC    Community Impact Mitigation Fund refurbishment works

The meeting received an update from the Town Clerk to confirm the first installment of the grant award from the HPC Community Impact Mitigation Fund has been passed by the administering authority for payment and is expected to clear imminently with the Town Council’s bank account.

Committee members were invited by the Project Coordinator to revisit the original list of refurbishment ideas that had been put forward, and to agree on the prioritisation of refurbishment projects on which to spend the £163k grant.

It was agreed that the auditorium seating requires improvement and, as this aspect will use a significant proportion of the fund, before a final decision is made the Project coordinator is asked to provide costs for both refurbishment and replacement of the existing seating system. The Project Coodinator made clear that a decision on the seating by the Committee will be required as soon as costs are in so that procurement documents can be agreed.

It was resolved that the following areas of the building were seen as a priority to address as far as possible with the available funds, these were, in order, the refurbishment of the auditorium (seating being the significant element), refurbishment of the public toilets, refurbishment of the Pizey Room and redecoration of the public areas.

It was further agreed that the expression of interest process should begin for the procurement of the grant funded works.

50/19/PMC    Recruitment of staff

The meeting received an update from the Town Clerk to state that Beccy Armory has been appointed to the post of Business Development Officer at the Princess and will take up the post during September. 

51/19/PMC    Email tickets to customers

The meeting received a report from the Responsible Finance Officer recommending the implementation of an email ticketing system using the functionality already available to the Princess through existing software. It was identified that there would be no additional costs to the Princess, but the system does offer the opportunity to make savings.

It was resolved to make use of the existing ticketing system to offer customers the option to receive tickets by email.

52/19/PMC    Hire of the café/bar

The meeting received a report from the Responsible Finance Officer recommending removal of the option for customers to hire the bar/café for private operation. Consideration was given to the staff time involved in clearing and re-stocking the area, the potential loss of income that might be incurred through not keeping the operation in-house and to any impact removal of the option might have on repeat hire.

It was agreed to defer any decision and revisit the matter once the Business Development Officer is in post and able to advise.

53/19/PMC    Hire list and prices

The meeting received a report from the Responsible Finance Officer recommending a simplified, interim pricing structure for all hire options, with a view to the prices being reviewed more thoroughly with the Business Development Officer.

It was agreed to defer any decision and revisit the matter once the Business Development Officer is in post, with resolution on pricing being finalised in time for the budgeting period at the end of the calendar year.

54/19/PMC    Report of Acting Manager

The meeting received an update from the Acting Manager on show bookings and the anticipated income, along with information showing the result of a customer questionnaire identifying the tickets sold against advertising methods.

The meeting heard that the princess enjoys regular repeat community and commercial customers. A customer list is maintained in line with the GDPR.

The chairman expressed the Committee’s thanks to the Acting Manager for his additional work in keeping the Princess operational with reduced staff during the recruitment period of the Business Development Officer.

55/19/PMC    Financial Reports

The meeting received and noted a report detailing income and expenditure against budget heads as at 30th June 2019.

It was resolved that, in accordance with the Town Council’s Financial Regulations, approval is given to the RFO to make payment of £1270.50 for repairs carried out to the lift at the Princess.

56/19/PMC    Report of the representative to The Friends of the Princess

Cllr Clayton stated that, following the resignation of the group’s chairman, there had been no meeting on which to report.

57/19/PPMC The date of next meeting was noted: Monday 21st October 2019

Meeting closed 20:02.

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