Bad weather hit the Town Estate’s main income streams in 2014-15 but the charity’s trustees continue to explore ways to increase revenue - its annual town meeting heard.
The recently held meeting heard that street markets which had to be cancelled due to bad weather during the winter months earlier this years resulted in a fall of £13,368 income compared to the previous year.
Vice chairman of feoffees John Southerington said the Town Estate had been slowly depleting its cash reserves over the past few years to maintain the delivery of its objectives, in large part due to the fall in returns from its investment portfolio.
The value of the investment portfolio reduced by £80,132 due to the need to develop facilities, generate income and sustain the viability of the assets which the Town Estate provides for the benefit of the town and surrounding area.
To make up the cash income shortfall, the charity has been looking to develop new income streams from initiatives using its existing assets.
During the accounts year (ending May 31) the Town Estate had invested in various projects and initiatives which included the purchase of the Asfordby Amateurs sports ground - now renamed Asfordby Acres Leisure Park - to significantly increase the sports and recreational facilities it provides.
The charity also:
Sold a small parcel of land on Saxby Road
Completed the restoration of the Horse Wash
Cleaned and re-pointed the stone wall on New Park and erected a blue plaque on the stone pilar
Commenced work to form a ‘gateway to the town and parks’, adjacent to the Lady Wilton Bridge, and installed LED Victorian-style lights on the bridge
Installed ornamental railings on the two side walls on the middle terrace of the War Memorial
Commenced research, with the help of the Melton Times, into the names on the memorial with a view to featuring information on its website and installing interpretation boards in the Garden of Remembrance
During the year the ‘Sculpture to Osaka’ (1970), by Antanas Brazdys, which was gifted to the Town Estate by Brooksby Melton College, was installed in the Woodland Gardens
The Town Estate was grateful for grants totalling £24,498 received from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Melton Council, English Heritage’s Preservation Scheme in Conservation Areas and Leicestershire Shire Grants that covered 90 per cent of development costs of the projects supported.
Projects and initiatives in the current year include:
Achieving a capital receipt from the sale of 10 acres of land off Nottingham Road
Re-negotiating of Brooksby Melton College’s 299 year lease for the King Street annex
Continuing to research names on the War Memorial
Continuing to apply for sports and similar grants to further improve the charity’s assets and for environmental projects
Maintaining a programme of community events, building on the local success of the national Love Your Parks week and sustaining the annual band concert programme
Mr Southerington also noted that the charity significantly reduces the council tax levy on householders in Melton Mowbray because there is no liability on Melton Council to provide these facilities. It’s estimated the Town Estate also contributed £74,000 to the local economy by the reduced rents enjoyed organisations within the town.
Two new trustees were also elected at the Town Meeting on Monday, October 5.
Eric Tindall is the new Junior Townwarden for the forthcoming year and Robert Asquith has begun a four-year tenure as a feoffee. Dinah Hickling continues as the Senior Townwarden and Ian Neale and John Rudman have commenced further four-year terms as feoffees.
Chairman of feoffees Peter Roffey also thanked town bailiff Andrew Cooper and his staff for their hard work and endeavours during the past 12 months, delivering the varied facilities the Town Estate provides. He also thanked Jill Palmer who for 16 years organised the successful summer concerts in New Park Bandstand.