Thursday, 19 January 2012



Private Events in Parks - Financial Brief Sheet

I will here set out the case that the proposal to stage private events in parks will not make money. Phrases such as ‘it will keep council tax down’, or ‘it will generate much needed revenue’, are erroneous and misleading for no proper business plan or estimates have been carried out and expenses and operating costs have not been deducted from projected income. I believe that with the available figures and a measure of common sense it is possible to demonstrate that this scheme will end up losing money thus negating the whole reasoning for its conception and implementation.

This is what we know:

The ‘Pilot Scheme’ is for 8 parks with a maximum of 12 events per park per year.
This figure has appeared in council literature. I spoke on the phone to Matthew Gunyon and he confirmed this adding that the figure of 12 was a maximum and would include funfairs. He said the figure for private events would more likely be 8 or 9. Nevertheless, for the sake of simplicity I agreed the highest possible number of events with him as 10.

There is an ’EPR Fees and Charges Consultation’ document that shows the proposed charges for events in parks as follows: 1-100 person events- £250 per day, 101-499 person events- £560 per day. Incredibly, Mr Gunyon claimed to know nothing of proposed charges but bowed to my superior knowledge.

Proposals are supposedly for smaller events. Cllr Dan Thomas has stated in writing: ‘the figure of 499 people is a maximum and this may be lower for smaller parks. I do not envisage an increased number of funfair events but a small number of much smaller family events.‘ Mr Gunyon confirmed this with me on the phone.

No form of business plan has yet been completed. Mr Gunyon said this would be completed only after the public consultation had closed and been analysed. He was adamant about this- no business plan or estimates have been prepared thus far. I submitted a question to the F&GG Residents Forum asking for details of the operating costs and expenditure of these proposals but my question has been disallowed and no reason has been given. A figure of £30,000 revenue has been quoted in a Business and Planning Cabinet Report but this figure is gross revenue before expenditure is deducted.

The facts and figures. These were confirmed and agreed by Matthew Gunyon. We agreed 10 events per year per park at an average of £300 per event. So, 10 times 8 times £300 gives us a figure of £24,000. This is gross revenue for all 8 parks and not that far removed from the figure quoted in the B&P Cabinet report. If one was to say that there would be more 499 person events and less 100 person events than my estimate you could easily come up with a figure like £30,000. I agree with this figure (providing, of course, that there is a take up for these seemingly unpopular events) BUT and here is the whole point of my argument, there will be huge operating costs in implementing and running these proposals: PR, marketing, advertising, salaries, administration, accounting, auditing, Environment Health officers, policing, making good all the damage to our parks and so on and so on. In any financial proposal the expenditure needs to be deducted to show the profit. These proposals will generate revenue but they will not generate profit, I believe this scheme will end up losing money and therefore putting council tax up, not down and this information needs to be accurately and concisely conveyed to Council next Tuesday.

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