History makes money!

The Great Bath
The Great Bath

Seems B&NES has got one little ‘golden apple’ in its corporate ‘basket’ that is unique in the UK. It’s the only authority making a profit out of its museum services. A nice little earner which has made the Council a net surplus of £56 million pounds since B&NES came into being back in 1996.

Of course it’s the only local authority that can boast the best Roman remains of an ancient bathing complex this side of the Alps and of course there are the three hot springs that have pumped financial  life into this city for hundreds of years.

A meeting of Cabinet this Wednesday – May 14th, 2014 – will be told in the financial year 2014/15 the target Heritage Services profit of £4.56 million represents a reduction in each Council Tax bill in the district of around £59.

For example – the Band D Council Tax bill would be £75 higher without this contribution to the Council’s finances.

Cabinet will be reading through the details of an update on the first five-year Heritage Services Business Plan and hearing of further ways in which the Council wants to go on generating increased profits in the future.
Of course all this is subject to ‘ a range of sensitivities and risks, including both world events and local factors.’

There’s a Forward Plan for the Fashion Museum which needs approving and also the need for further investigations into extending the Victoria Art Gallery.

The Rotunda at the top of the staircase in the Victoria Art Gallery.
The Rotunda at the top of the staircase in the Victoria Art Gallery.

To quote from the report: ‘ A feasibility study undertaken during 2013/14 demonstrated that it would be possible to extend the building into the void beneath the Gallery to connect with the upgraded Market and redeveloped riverside undercroft.

With new exhibition space, an extended shop, a contemporary café and a high-level south and east facing viewing terrace, the extension would add a cultural component to the Guildhall and Market Development with the potential to drive footfall and extend dwell-time within the complex.’

Cabinet will hear that provisional revenue outturn figures showed that Heritage Services generated a profit of £5.2 million in 2012/13 – £1.1 million above the planned target level.
‘The increase in profit was due mainly to record numbers of Roman Baths’ visitors, which exceeded one million for the first time.
The level of increase in visitor numbers in 2013/14 was consistent with that experienced by many other leading visitor attractions. As yet, none are sure whether this is a one-off phenomenon.
Benchmarking with other leading UK visitor attractions demonstrated that the Roman Baths, and Heritage Serves as a whole, continue to perform in the top 25 per cent of all major attractions for income generation, profitability and productivity. Staffing costs continue to be amongst the lowest of all major attractions.

The Cabinet meeting will be broadcast live on the Council’s web-site.