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Agenda item

Cobtree Estate Update


The Head of Regeneration and Economic Development presented the report of the Leisure Manager providing an update on activities at the Cobtree Manor Estate since the last meeting of the Committee in July 2021.  It was noted that:


Cobtree Manor Park


Car park income for the year to 1 August 2021 was £53,817, which was a positive variance of £18,000.


There had been two outdoor theatre performances of Alice in Wonderland in the Park on 3 and 4 September 2021 and a winter lights trail for the period 15 December 2021 to 31 December 2021 had been confirmed.


A recent monthly play area inspection report had identified that repairs were required to play equipment at the Manor Park.  The Officers would report back to the Committee with further details including costs.


Cobtree Golf Course


The Golf Course had been performing well despite the poor weather and some of the increased footfall experienced in 2020 had been retained.


With the lifting of the COVID-19 restrictions, it was hoped that more society and group bookings would continue this positive trend.


Kent Life


Kent Life was also recovering well from the pandemic.  Events and functions had resumed on site with a return to the full events programme anticipated.


As part of their tour of the Cobtree Manor Estate in August 2021, Members had visited the Kent Life archive store which contained thousands of artifacts.  A report would be submitted to a future meeting of the Committee with options for cataloguing and managing the collections.  The report would address the origins of the artifacts and any obligations in relation to their retention and display.


Cobtree Café


The Cobtree Café had continued to trade well throughout the summer.  Repairs to the shutters had been carried out and drains and gullies had been cleared.  The increased footfall at the Manor Park had resulted in repairs and redecoration being required in the Visitor Centre toilets, and these were being arranged by the Café operator.


Cobtree Shed Group


There had been some additions to the Elephant House which did not comply with building regulations and the Officers were looking into the cost of restoring the building.  The Cobtree Shed Group was keen to find alternative premises to meet its needs and the Officers were trying to help with this.


In response to comments and questions, the Head of Regeneration and Economic Development advised the Committee that:


·  Options for the future use of the Elephant House were being investigated.  Currently, a large metal container near to the Café was being used as a store for parks equipment and as a park office.  Relocating the office to the Visitor Centre and using the Elephant House as a store for the equipment and a small vehicle would provide the opportunity to remove the container from an area used by the public.


·  The Officers would investigate the drainage issues at Kent Life and report back to a future meeting.


·  The proposals by Mytime in relation to the Golf Course had been put on hold temporarily, but a report would be submitted to the next meeting with options going forward.


During the discussion, it was pointed out that the Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Leisure Manager had met with representatives of the Cobtree Charity Trust Limited.  At that meeting the Trustees had indicated that they might be interested in investing in a display area for some of the carriages currently housed in the Carriage Museum as its collection was gifted to it by Sir Garrard Tyrwhitt-Drake.  This could tie in with the work to be undertaken in relation to the artifacts contained in the Kent Life archive.


The Head of Regeneration and Economic Development was keen for the Committee to consider other options for the Trust’s investment and undertook to bring a report to the Committee about potential investment in the Cobtree Manor Estate.


RESOLVED:  That subject to the points raised in the discussion, the update on activities at the Cobtree Manor Estate since the last meeting of the Committee in July 2021 be noted.


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