Honiton Town Council agrees to keeping Beehive doors open but does not commit to HCC funding

PUBLISHED: 16:00 11 August 2020

The Beehive in Honiton. Ref mhh 42 19TI 2182. Picture: Terry Ife

The Beehive in Honiton. Ref mhh 42 19TI 2182. Picture: Terry Ife

Archant

The Honiton Town Council has committed to keeping the doors of the Beehive open in the event the charity currently running it goes out of business.

In a recent town council meeting, Serena Sexton of Honiton Community Complex Charity (HCC), which runs the Beehive, was seeking a payment of £45,000 from the council in order to ensure the charity’s financial future.

The charity has previously had issues with the town council, who own the building, about payments.

Mrs Sexton said: “The building is wholly owned by the town council but we provide all of the services in the building and we pay 90 per cent of the ongoing costs in maintaining that building.

“We can dispute the figures for as long as you like but we said we would draw a line and have a new working relationship in trying to take this forward.

“One of the points that I really think you have got to look at is this was what was agreed with the charity when we took on the lease. We are a non-profit charity. Everything that we earn, gets ploughed into the Beehive community complex.”

In reply, mayor councillor John Zarczynski said: “No one is disputing what the charity has done but I disagree that we haven’t honoured out agreement.

“We had the lease interpreted by the authors and they were far more brutal than we were. We paid a damn sight more.

“The charity has run this place for five years now and I know everyone has suffered because of the coronavirus but why has it not had better reserves?

“It’s had five years to basically be financially viable and for the three years that I know of, all we’ve been hearing is they are financially struggling.”

Cllr Carol Gilson said: “As a deputy mayor, I totally agree with the mayor that we can’t waste this money but I think we should sit round the table and have a little bit more discussion.”

Later in the meeting, cllr Zarczynski proposed that whatever happens, the centre would remain open to the public.

This was passed with six votes in favour while councillor Caroline Kolek sought to ask Mrs Sexton to bring a business plan to the next town council meeting on what would happen if the £45,000 was given to them. This was also passed with five votes in favour.


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