By Janett Durant
For over six years the Avenue House Estate Trust has run the Mansion and Grounds in East End Road without any subsidy from Barnet Council, although we have received funds from the Lottery and other benefactors to pay for capital projects, such as new railings and pathways.
The cost of maintaining the Grounds – around £80,000 per year – has been and continues to be met from income received from room lettings and functions in the Mansion. Last year two of our charity tenants lost their funding and had to move out – as a result we lost £35,000 in annual income. Two further charity tenants now face the same situation. Additionally, the economic climate has reduced our income from bookings.
We have sought £50,000 from the Council to help see us through this lean period while we reposition our business. Unfortunately, we have been met with a blanket No!
The Council classes the grounds as “Public Open Space” but gives not a single penny from the rates towards their upkeep. They claim the grounds are private to the Trust and therefore the Trust must manage on its own.
Unless we receive an immediate £10,000 by early March and a further £20,000 by the end of that month we will have to consider the process of handing back the estate to the council.
We have been told by Barnet Council that the Mansion could then be boarded up, with minimal grounds maintenance, or the whole Estate even disposed of as a private school.
We need a breathing space and time to find new tenants and develop a new marketing strategy. To do this, we need to make up a shortfall of approx £6,000 per month between incomings and outgoings. We are planning to reduce outgoings where possible, and to utilise the grounds more to help generate income.
Can you help to re-establish the Friends group, or join our fundraising group? In addition, could you help to distribute newsletters in your area?.
If you and your family want to continue to enjoy the facilities of the Estate please help now as time is of the essence by donating to our bank.
Our bank details are on the home page at www.avenuehouse.org.uk , or send your cheque made payable to AHET to Avenue House, at the above address.