Cornwall’s The Eden Project is the latest business to announce that it is struggling with debts from the economic downturn. Synergy Client Solutions reports the problems that it is facing.
The managing director of the Eden Project announced yesterday that the attraction has debts of £5m and that up to 35 jobs were at risk. Gaynor Coley said “We are overall in debt about £5m – but a £5m debt on a £140m asset with a £20m turnover is a very reasonable level of debt, particularly in this climate.”
Ms Coley said that visitor numbers had been healthy but that loses last year of £1.78m had compounded this year’s debt. The cause of the loss last year was in part down to flooding in November 2010 that saw the attraction close for a week and its very profitable ice rink close for one month.
Despite her claims, Synergy Client Solutions understands that visitor numbers have fallen in 2009, 2010 and 2011, with last year seeing only just over 1m visitors through the door. Ms Coley said that they would be looking for innovative ways to ensure that the attraction was fit for purpose and was good value for money.
The Eden Project boasts the world’s largest rainforest in captivity with jungles and waterfalls. It also has fantastic year-round garden displays and an educational centre. The Eden Project is also a famous concert venue. Lined up to perform this summer are artists Plan B, Blink-182 and Example.
Manager of Synergy Client Solutions, Ben Jeanes thinks that the problem is even more worrying than initially thought, “The Eden project is a research centre that works with communities around the world to reduce the impact of various industries on the planet including mining and businesses. If some of the individuals involved in research are at risk of losing their jobs then that will surely affect their work.”
Malcolm Bell of Visit Cornwall is more optimistic. “We will be looking to see how we can help. I am sure Eden’s team will be working hard and creatively. It took innovation to create Eden and I am sure that pool of talent will be there to see it through these troubles.” Synergy Client Solutions hopes that he is right.