Revenue raisers and cost cutters
Time to step out of the box
The thought came to me as I was visiting the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle upon Tyne with what is akin to a High Street of shops just beyond its main entrance, we are about to embark upon the building of a new swimming pool at the Pier Head in South Shields and although detailed plans may already have been drawn up I wonder if , at this late stage, it is possible to make adjustments to those plans to include small shop units that South Tyneside Council could franchise out, lease, or rent to raise much needed revenue? I can see a good case for allowing private enterprise to run their business within, or attached to, the new swimming pool, such retail ventures might conceivably include sportswear, hairdressing, cafe/coffee shop/catering, souvenirs and gifts, newsagent and confectioner.
The concept could also be applied to the Temple Park Centre as it sees out the remainder of its time, is there any GOOD reason why South Tyneside Council HAS to provide the catering operation there, could it not be provided by another enterprise?
Some local businesses may well take an enlightened approach to a cheap and viable opportunity to expand their operations under the right circumstances, it is worth a thought.
Another revenue raising area worth thinking about is the very large number of available pages on South Tyneside Council’s website and the amount of printed publications that the council is responsible for, would anyone object if the council started to sell advertising space there? I know that the website is one of the better more accessible and popular local government sites, there is sufficient traffic to attract additional revenue from online advertisers. Perhaps this is a more immediate opportunity that could be acted upon.
Finally, after some outcry over the employment costs of some of the higher layers of management within our council (there are a few whose salaries are larger than that paid to our MPs and one who rivals the Prime Minister for remuneration), it may well be worth considering acting together with Sunderland and Gateshead councils to provide a central management service for the three combined authorities in an effort to streamline services and reduce costs.
As we face a period of austerity our councillors need encouragement to think outside of the box for more innovative solutions.