Town council explores best way forward for the Beehive

The Beehive in Honiton. Ref mhh 42 19TI 2191. Picture: Terry Ife

The Beehive in Honiton. Ref mhh 42 19TI 2191. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Safeguarding the future of Honiton’s Beehive is the aim of a new working group set up by the town council. 

The council says it is committed to keeping the venue open for entertainment and community events, but must decide on its future strategy for the building.  

The Beehive is owned by the council and has been leased to Honiton Community Complex (HCC) since 2015, to operate it as a community venue. HCC did so successfully for seven years, but suffered the financial consequences of Covid and, in February this year, gave notice to end the lease. Not wanting to lose HCC as a tenant, the council agreed to underwrite HCC’s costs on a three-month rolling basis for a maximum of 12 months, and HCC withdrew the notice. 

A spokesperson for the council said: “Having a modern and vibrant facility such the Beehive is important as a centre in which the spirit of the community can flourish. 

“However, with the impact of a hike in energy bills, driving a steep rise in inflation and all on top of the global Covid pandemic, the Town Council is looking carefully at how it spends your money. The Work Programme and its priorities are being reviewed and the budget for the year is being recast. 

“The Town Council consider that underwriting HCC’s costs in the short term is the most cost-effective way of addressing the situation, but will continue to review its decision at each monthly Council meeting. 

“The council is working closely and cooperatively with HCC and discussions are positive.  The aim is to retain the Beehive open to the community, for events/shows and therefore continue to generate revenue to pay its way as much as possible. The Beehive continues to be open for business, with a full programme of events and there is hope that the recent increases in audience numbers will continue.” 

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The council’s working group will explore options for running the Beehive and present them to a public consultation at the end of July, inviting local residents to contribute their ideas, before making a decision. 

The spokesperson said: “Both the town council and HCC recognise the importance of ensuring that the services provided by the Beehive for local residents can continue well into the future.”