Following a six month review of the finances and commitments, the Winter Gardens Preservation Trust submitted a Community Interest Business Loan request to Lancaster City Council in October 2019. The Trust currently owes £73,000 on the mortgage and has requested an additional £30,000 towards a contribution for the £150,000 grant received from Historic England for the additional 20% matching contribution required.
The loan request is based on current commercial interest rates of 3% which is 2.5% above base but substantially lower than the current rate of 9.5% that the Trust has been historically paying since 2009 to the Charities Bank. In total, this amounts to £103,000 payable via a commercial business rate back to Lancaster City Council over a minimum of ten years.
- The Council are currently considering this request and have received full financial records and references regarding our ability to repay
- The Trust is fully up to date with all current mortgage repayments and financial commitments
- The loan is not a grant but a fully commercial repayable loan equivalent to standard banking rates currently available on the High Street
- Lancaster City Council will benefit from the interest repayments as this is based on a commercial borrowing rate
- The additional £30,000 requested by the Trust will enable £150,000 of immediate infrastructure on the building from external bodies which will both rapidly increase the value of the building but also enable the increased capacity of the venue and a wider range of opportunities that will bring to the building
- The loan request is part of an ongoing review into the historic financial status and governance of the Trust following the change of administration in January 2019 and has followed all processes laid down by the Charity Commission
The Trust believes that securing this loan will be a huge step towards financial stability for the Winter Gardens and enable additional income to support the full restoration of the building over the next five years. We are delighted that Lancaster City Council is considering this option as it enables us to plan our future vision in the knowledge that we are not dealing with historical decisions that were made that are not economically viable.
Professor Vanessa Toulmin Chair
The Morecambe Winter Gardens Preservation Trust.
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