By Kevin Unitt 04/07 Updated: 04/07 07:38
SPA Centre bosses are hailing an “encouraging” cut in running costs at the once closure-threatened venue.
New financial figures released this week show more than £35,000 in savings have been found in just one year – against an original target of cutting £39,000 over four years.
But the centre remains heavily subsidised by Warwick District Council, to the tune of £382,000 in 2011/12, which was down from the £417,000 in the previous 12 months.
General Manager Antony Flint told the paper: “Although our costs this year are the lowest we have achieved in recent history, the figures don’t lie, and the fact that our sales levels have stood still means that the final outturn isn’t the best it’s ever been.
“However you do have to take into account the conditions we’re trading in and I think that overall we now have a great venue, showing great entertainment and that is costing less to operate than it did a year ago; which is what we set out to achieve so I have to be pleased.”
Mr Flint, due to leave his post at the Spa Centre later this month to take up a similar post at De Montfort Hall in Leicester, insists that although the theatre has come a long way in the last couple of years there was still more for his successor to achieve.
The Spa Centre, opened by former Prime Minister and Warwick and Leamington MP Anthony Eden in 1972, was revealed by the Observer in 2009 to be under threat of closure due to high subsidies and running costs, coupled with low ticket sales.
But Mr Flint, who took up the role in January 2010, is widely credited for a major transition of the venue, boosting sales, cutting costs and overseeing a refurbishment programme.
Warwick District Council leader Michael Doody, said: “The latest results mean that it now costs each household in the district just under £7 per year to run this theatre, and I think that for what this building now delivers to our residents, it represents tremendously good value.
“It also demonstrates that alongside Antony’s good work, as sales start to recover and we start to seriously look at a more modern and cost efficient home for the theatres activities then we should see the costs start to reduce even further in coming years.”
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