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Future for Coombe Abbey looks bright thanks to Council backing

todayMarch 2, 2021 11

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Councillors are to discuss plans to provide a loan to Coombe Abbey Hotel to protect the popular tourist attraction’s immediate future.

With no additional support, the venue will have exhausted its cash reserves at the end of this month, meaning it will be unable to pay wages and bills. Like most other hotels of its size, the management company has applied for a government-backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), however it has been refused due to the fact a local authority owns it.

The move will protect the 65 jobs at the site and leave it well-placed to recover once it can re-open, currently predicted to be no earlier than 17 May.

Despite the challenges of lockdown – total revenues fell by 70 per cent in 2020 – the hotel has good reason to be confident of the future.

Councillor Richard Brown, Coventry City Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, believes the loan will protect a valuable business and a much-loved asset for the city.

He said: “The hotel has taken the full government support of furlough schemes, HMRC support and business rate relief, but next-to-no revenue has been coming into the business for almost a year, although it has still had bills to meet.

“It has been unable to access funding through the government-backed CBILS scheme like similar hotels, which means the only options are to close, seek funding elsewhere or from the Council.

“It is the city’s asset and one that has a bright future which can be seen in the business it has already secured once the Coronavirus restrictions are lifted.”

The number of weddings booked for 2021 is higher than the total figure in 2019. The collective total for booked and provisionally booked weddings in 2022 would be a record year for the hotel.

The business also has a strong level of interest in Christmas 2021 bookings. The café and catering outlets are set to beat their annual turnover record this year, despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic.

Councillors will debate the proposed loan to Coombe Abbey at the Cabinet Committee on Tuesday 9 March and at Full Council on Tuesday 16 March 2021.

Councillor Brown added: “Coombe Abbey Hotel and the surrounding parkland is one of the jewels in Coventry’s crown and a much-loved part of our city. It has a great history and is now a major part of our visitor attraction.

“Recently it has grown even more popular with the addition of the Go-Ape high trees adventure facility, and we are confident that it has a bright future ahead in helping our city through its year as UK City of Culture and beyond.”

 

Written by: David Watkins

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