Burnham-on-Sea & Highbridge Town Council

6th July 2020 Finance & Resources Report 5.5

Report for councillors:                 Update on the financial position of The Princess Theatre        

Issued to:                                         Finance & Resources Committee Meeting 6th July 2020

Purpose of Report to provide financial information about the impact of the Covid-19 closure on The Princess Theatre and Art Centre


The Princess closed on 20th March due to Government guidelines. It is a public venue that holds mass gatherings, so it falls within the last phase of lockdown easement, it is reasonable to assume that The Princess will not achieve it’s normal level of income for some time.

Unlike other theatres and arts centres, The Princess has so far been unable to maximise government support with the expanded retail discount, the subsequent grant or the Covid Job Retention Scheme due to being a local authority operation with a subsidy greater than its income for 19/20. As it is run by a local authority, the budget has already been agreed and it is therefore not expected to make any of its staff redundant.  However, recent talks with Sedgemoor have led to an application being submitted and it is hoped that we may be eligible for a grant from their expanded retail discount scheme.

The princess has lost 94% of the earned income, estimated at £83,950 for 20/21 (£6,995.83 pm) due to the closure.

Taking in to account reductions in utilities due to lack of usage, and having worked hard to reduce contractual commitments, the fixed costs (whilst closed) from June stand at £121,320 annually (£10,110 pm) a saving of £40,058 (£3338.17 pm).

It has already been agreed that the Council has committed £72,428 in the 2020/21 budget. This leaves a shortfall of £48,892 for 2020/21 on fixed costs.

Thanks to the grant of £28,649 from the Arts Council’s emergency National Lottery fund the Council will be able to sustain the Princess without income until early February.

That leaves the Council with a shortfall of £16,243 until the end of the financial year. The difference of £4,000 is expected from PV cell income and rental fees.

The Business Development Officer is working on funding to bridge this gap and we are waiting for news from Sedgemoor about the recent application.

Financial implications

The Council may need to use other funds to bridge the projected gap of £16,243

Policy implications

Corporate pillar 2: Culture and Community

The Town Council is committed to supporting a year-round programme of cultural events throughout Burnham and Highbridge, providing improved infrastructure where possible that will benefit the towns and its residents.


The Council should consider what funds it would use to bridge any potential gap in funding. EMR report is  attached to this report.

The Council should be aware that reopening The Princess to the public for any purpose comes at a cost of £3,338 per month, and that this cost  cannot be recovered from income earnt from events for some time due to Covid-19 restrictions and social distancing measures.

Report author:          Sally Jones and Beccy Armory

Report Date:               26th June 2020

Records Retention Schedule

Financial Risk Management Policy - March 2023

Grant Application Kings Coronation Form

The Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III will take place on Saturday 6th May 2023, with an additional bank holiday on Monday 8th May 2023.

We are keen to hear from groups/organisations in Burnham-on-Sea and Highbridge that are looking to celebrate the Coronation. The Town Council has £1500 available to allocate to events being organised to celebrate the Kings Coronation. The maximum grant to be allocated per event will be £500.

You must meet the following criteria for your application to be considered:

– The event will be open to all members of the public

– The event will be free of charge

– The event will take place within the Coronation weekend

– The event will take place within Burnham on Sea or Highbridge


Applications will close on Monday 6th March at midday. 

Your organisation and contact details

What happens next....
Applications will be considered at the Finance and Resources Committee Meeting on Monday 13th March 2023. You will be notified after this date whether your application has been successful.
Burnham & Highbridge Town Council takes your privacy seriously and will only use your personal information for the purposes of contacting you about this grant. The Council’s privacy notice can be found here.

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