Your Councillors


Cobtree Manor Estate Charity Committee

 

 

Cobtree Manor Estate Update Report

 

Final Decision-Maker

Cobtree Manor Estate Charity Committee

 

Lead Head of Service/Lead Director

Dawn Hudd - Head of Regeneration and Economic Development

Lead Officer and Report Author

Elizabeth Buckingham – Cobtree Manager

Classification

Public

 

Wards affected

Boxley

 

 

Executive Summary

 

The information in the report is intended to give the Committee an understanding of the day to day work of the Estate and the issues that affect its management. It also provides a record of all that is achieved across the different parts of the estate.

 

The estate update covers the period from when the Committee last met in April 2018.

 

 

This report makes the following recommendations to this Committee:

·         That the report is noted.

 

 

 

Timetable

Meeting

Date

Cobtree Manor Estate Charity Committee

1st August 2018



Cobtree Manor Estate Update Report

 

 

1.   INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

 

1.1        This report covers the period from April 2018 to July 2018.

 

Cobtree Manor Park

1.2        Maintenance of the park over this period covers spring and summer works

          Works to the park include:

 

·         Weed management

·         Tree works to dangerous and diseased trees

·         Works to the tree border on the Forstal Road have been completed in compliance with Highway regulations.

·         The main gates have now been repaired and repainted, the posts re-set and a refabricated height barrier hung.

·         The CCTV mast has been re-sited to provide coverage of the main gates. The final connection and adjustment is scheduled to be completed by the end of July.

 

1.3        An application for the Green Flag Award 2018/9 was submitted in January and judging took place in June by Chris Worman MBE, Head of Parks, Rugby City Council. A Flag has been awarded with a score of 70-75.The judge’s comments included

    

It was a privilege to visit Cobtree Manor Park and meet such dedicated staff.

‘The management plan contains improvement objectives for the park showing a clear commitment to further enhancing the park’

‘The management understand the complexities of this landscape and how to manage all the different elements of the site.’

‘Congratulations on such a great Green Flag Award park.’

 

Events

1.4        Love Parks Week 13th -22nd July was celebrated with free drop-in craft activities, competitions and games and sports equipment for visitors to try.

 

A program of events for the summer holidays has been devised in partnership with Medway Countryside including Minibeast Habitat Building for different areas of the park and a ‘Pollinator Party’ day.

 

Kent Wildlife Trust launched the Wonderful Wordicular Word Trail between Tyland barn and Cobtree Manor Park on 12th July. The 2km wildlife themed poetry trail funded by the Cobtree Prize features nine interactive way markers created by children from St Peter’s C of E Primary School working with a poet and storyteller. Trail leaflets have been produced and an interpretation board at each site installed.

 

Community

1.5        Two Hadlow College Countryside Management students have returned to continue their work placements completing 180 hours and are currently working on planning planting for the community garden and carrying out fauna surveys.

 

Visitor Numbers

1.6        There was an equipment failure that led to no data being available between 17th January and 27th April. This has been resolved and the counter is now functioning correctly. A quarterly comparison is not therefore possible but an increase in visitor numbers of 27.68% can be seen for the months of May and June 2018 combined compared to the same months in 2017.

 

2016

Quarterly

% on previous year

2017

Quarterly

% on previous year

2018

Quarterly

% on previous year

Jan

15923

 

21652

 

no data

 

Feb

15798

 

19574

 

no data

 

Mar

18227

49948

-1.15

25676

66902

33.94

no data

 

Apr

22144

 

30554

 

no data

 

May

29076

 

24952

 

34489

38.22

Jun

22031

73251

3.43

25694

81200

10.85

30519

18.78

Jul

21043

 

31187

 

 

 

Aug

33192

 

37491

 

 

 

Sept

19468

73703

-5.57

23675

92353

25.3

 

 

Oct

15124

 

24995

 

 

 

Nov

17460

 

12290

 

 

 

Dec

18138

50722

36.57

16623

53908

6.28

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

247624

247624

 

294363

294363

 

 

 

 

 

Car park

1.7        Car park income for the first 10 weeks of the 2018/19 financial year was £19,623 compared to £23,084 in the same period last year, a 15% decrease. This is attributable to the weather conditions particularly in March.

 

Car park refurbishment: this update is contained in a separate report

 

1.8        Cafe and Visitor Centre updateA further break-in to the café occurred on 25th April. A 4X4 vehicle ram- raided the main entrance, destroying the door and glazing panes. A strop was attached to the safe located in the internal storeroom and an unsuccessful attempt was made to pull it out causing damage to internal doors, walls and to racking, furniture, equipment and stock. The whole incident was captured on CCTV but there was not sufficient identifying evidence for the Police to pursue the perpetrators. The vehicle entered the park from the Golf Course. An insurance claim is ongoing.

 

Security upgrades have been installed including anti-ram bollards, fixing of benches and upgraded HD CCTV. The additional bunding is under construction.

 

An Alder tree and six mature shrubs have been removed to allow an upgraded power supply to be connected to the café to enable DA GT to install improved kitchen equipment and refurbish the interior of the café .

 

A kiosk to provide scoop ice-cream has been installed adjacent to the Visitor Centre. This will be a temporary structure to assess the benefits based on income generation and customer feedback. Subject to a review of overall benefits over the summer and October half-term, a more permanent and sympathetically designed kiosk may be proposed to be installed with the agreement of CMET.

          Catering contract monitoring: The contract monitoring meetings have commenced with the service provider and the first set of reports should be available at the next meeting.

 

Cobtree Manor Golf Course

1.9    A meeting was hosted by Mytime Active to update the Trust members with progress of the Planning Application for the new club house.

 

          Activities

 

Q1 2017

Q1 2018

Difference

Rounds Played

     12,363

11,460

-903

 

1.9.1 Performance

·      The adverse weather conditions in April resulted in a poor start to the financial year.

·      The excellent weather conditions resulted in much better performance for May and June 2018.

·      The team continue to work towards Cobtree Manor Golf Course a Hub rather than just a golf course.


1.9.2 CMGC Events

·         Hosted a Taylor Wimpey corporate day which included meetings, food and foot golf.

·         World Cup event with food and beverage promotions.

·         The golf course has continued with the successful Sunday carvery.




 

1.9.3 Community

 

The club is making plans to relocate the shop and shop staff into the bar area. The area freed up will be utilised for ‘health and wellbeing’ in the community.

 

1.9.4 Green Keeper’s Tasks

·      Keeping up with the cutting as it is growing season

·      Working on limiting the damage resulting from the poor drainage

 

Kent Life Farm Attraction

1.10  Kent Life Visitor Numbers

 

 

Q1 2017

Q1 2018

Difference

Total Visitor Numbers

53,773

50,440

-3,333

Members Visits

10,490

11,112

622

Education Visits

7,808

8,643

835



1.10.1 Maintenance and Improvements

 

·      More investment in entertainment shows like the “Big Top” over the holiday periods.

·      Wages and salaries have increased mainly due to an increase in maintenance, cleaning, grounds and gardens personnel.

·      This increased investment has been made to improve the customer experience on site and help maintain the property to a higher standard.

·      A number of cosmetic improvements have been carried out to the grounds including returfing bare areas and new paving

 

1.11 Cobtree Railway

 

The Cobtree Charity Trust trustees maintain their enthusiasm to realise this project.

Following a meeting between trustees and the Head of Regeneration and Economic Development it has been identified that in order to further progress the project a number of actions are now required:

 

The production of a fully costed business plan

Further detailed market research

Identification of sources of funding

Confirmation of extent of involvement and commitment from potential operating partners

Further detail of planned operations on each site

 

 

 

 

 

2.        AVAILABLE OPTIONS

 

2.1    The report is to note only.

 

3.        PREFERRED OPTION AND REASONS FOR RECOMMENDATIONS

 

3.1        It is recommended that the information in this report regarding the performance of the Café/ Visitor Centre is noted.

 

 

4.       RISK

4.1    This report is presented for information only and has no risk management implications.

 

 

 

5.       CONSULTATION RESULTS AND PREVIOUS COMMITTEE FEEDBACK

 

4.1    None.

 

 

6.       NEXT STEPS: COMMUNICATION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DECISION

 

5.1   Any comments from the Committee will be passed on to the relevant parties.

 

 

7.       CROSS-CUTTING ISSUES AND IMPLICATIONS

 

 

Issue

Implications

Sign-off

Impact on Corporate Priorities

The work of the charity links directly to its charitable objects and the corporate priorities of the Council.

Head of

Regeneration

and Economic

Development

Risk Management

Risks to running the estate are

dealt with in the annual Estate

Risk Management Report.

 

Financial

Financial risks are considered in the ongoing finance updates.

Paul Holland Senior Finance Manager (client)

Equalities

No Implications

 

 

 

8.        REPORT APPENDICES

 

·         None

 

 

9.        BACKGROUND PAPERS

 

·         None