Football club claims it is losing earnings due to nearby cafe
PUBLISHED: 15:30 04 June 2018 | UPDATED: 11:18 05 June 2018
A football club in Thorpe St Andrew claims it has lost out on earnings due to the opening of a nearby pop-up cafe.
Eddie Jack, chairman of St Andrews FC, said takings for tea and coffee at the clubhouse had recently “dropped off a cliff” during weekends.
He claims it is because of a new pop-up cafe which has opened at the town council-owned Morse Pavilion, off Laundry Lane.
While Mr Jack accepted the cafe was a good idea for the area, he said it was impacting the football club’s finances.
“We do teas and coffees [at the club house] and over a weekend we might get £150,” Mr Jack said.
“But since the cafe has opened, that has dropped to £20 to £30.”
Mr Jack said the club makes around £1,500 each year through the sale of refreshments, which goes towards running costs.
He said he raised his concerns to Thorpe St Andrew Town Council, but said his requests for financial help were turned down.
“I said you are putting up pitch prices but taking away our revenue,” he said.
“I asked for a pitch reduction fee, but was refused.”
Thomas Foreman, town council clerk, said the cafe project had emerged through public consultations about the recreation ground’s development.
He said the council had to balance the interests of the wider community along with the needs of the town’s sports clubs.
Steve Raven, husband of the cafe’s owner, said: “If there is anything we can do in the future to help and support the club we would be more than happy to look into it.”
The cafe will eventually move permanently into a building next to the Morse Pavilion.
Both the clubhouse and pavilion are located metres away from each other at the George Morse Park.
Mr Jack said the club, which has around 18 teams, could be forced to increase its signing-on fees to make up for its lost earnings.
He said because the pavilion is closer to the car park than the clubhouse, visitors are more like to go there for food and drink first.
The town council said it would assist the football club in promoting its facility as a function room.
Mr Foreman added the council already subsidises pitch fees and gave the club a 30-year peppercorn ground rent in 2016.
The pop-up cafe provides homemade cakes, as well as tea and coffee.