At the last Full Weymouth Town Council meeting, Liberal Democrat and Green Councillors, together with some Labour and Independent Town Councillors, voted 17 for (with 11 against) the proposal to take back the lease on the Brunswick Terrace refreshment kiosk known as Auntie Vi’s.

It was reported to councillors that Swanage Town Council successfully operate concessions themselves and generate a substantial income from these ventures, however it appears after further investigation that Swanage Town Council do not operate concessions themselves but these are all leased on a commercial basis.

So therefore the information given to councillors was incorrect.

The four-man Conservative group of Town Councillors voted against the proposal because £57,785 will be used from reserves to make this dream come true.

Now that’s just the initial startup costs of the project, which includes the fixtures and fittings.

The council will then incur further start-up costs by employing catering staff to operate the kiosk.

A small passage contained within the report that went to councillors was a future proposal to employ a catering manager on a new two-year fixed-term contract to manage this new empire.

So, in April/May 2021 when the Brunswick Terrace kiosk comes on stream, the town council will be operating a grand total of two catering kiosks in the town.

Does this really need a manager to operate just the two kiosks?

We can only assume that the majority group on Weymouth Town Council intends to take back all of the other leases which are currently in private hands.

So, if you currently operate a lease from the town council and your lease has a five-year mutual break clause written into the small print, beware: you may be about to be taken over within the next few years.

We think that the majority group on Weymouth Town Council should come clean about future intentions on commercialisation and reassure existing leaseholders that they are all safe.

We think that is the least that they can do in the current circumstances.

If not, then this of course will have an effect on any future investment decisions current leaseholders might wish to take in the next few years, leading to a degree of uncertainty at a time when the town council should be reassuring tenants that their best interests are being taken seriously and that they have the town council’s full support going forward.

Councillors were also told that if the proposal was not successful within a two-year trial period and the town council decided not to continue with the in-house catering empire, the plug would be pulled, and the lease put back on the market for tender.

Time will tell in the end and we will just have to wait and see how this costly experiment works out and how much money will eventually be wasted by the town council in the process.


Upwey and Broadwey Ward