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Eden Project posts record losses amid £2million land sale

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: January 08, 2014

Cornwall's Eden Project

Cornwall's Eden Project

Comments (25)

The struggling Eden Project has reported its worst financial performance since it opened in 2001.

The Eden Trust accounts for 2012-13 show a deficit of £6.3m for the year ending March 2013, compared with a surplus the previous year of £136,000.

The environmental attraction said its underlying trading loss was about £1.3m compared with a profit of £3.6m in the previous year.

It blamed the poor performance on interest in the 2012 Olympics, bad summer weather and the economic downturn.

A statement in the accounts said: "With asset sales in the region of £2m, Eden expects to pay off borrowings and other liabilities totalling £3.3m during 2013-14.”

The financially-troubled operation was split into two separate organisations last year in an attempt to “strengthen” its performance.

Co-founder Sir Tim Smit has now stood down from the role of chief executive just a few months after the iconic attraction went to the Government for a bail-out.

Sir Tim, the public face of the ecological showpiece since 2001, has taken a step back from day-to-day running and will instead take on a new role leading a new development unit, Eden Regeneration.

Visitor numbers dropped below one million in 2012-13 to 953,000 for the year, and Eden made 54 job cuts to its staff of 445.

It emerged recently that Cornwall Council had spent £1.3million propping up the ailing visitor destination.

Eden said it had cut jobs and made other changes since the accounting period ended.

It said in the accounts: "Eden has been reluctant to reduce its level of employment, but has concluded that this is essential to preserve and grow Eden for the longer term.

"Eden is ensuring that the business will remain profitable even if visitor numbers were to reduce further."

Since March 2013, the attraction has also sold surplus land, it said.

Malcolm Bell, head of tourism body Visit Cornwall said: "I think if you have 10 years of good trading, you tend to think that the world won't change that dramatically, which it obviously did."

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25 comments

  • Big_Ger  |  January 09 2014, 8:46PM

    ""We don't want any of that Cornish rubbish", said an Objective One man at Exeter," Claims cweatherhill. Unsubstantiated slander, I'm surprised the paper allows this.

    |   7
  • cronky3  |  January 09 2014, 4:10PM

    @cweatherhill: you're talking through your hat. The Lottery has handed out 4,472 grants worth £299,248,361 to projects in Cornwall, and Objective One handed out £351,142,534 to 875 projects in Cornwall. No doubt other bids were rejected, but that seems like a fair shake to me. Better value than £600m to the Millennium Dome, I'd say. Granted Eden got about 20% of that, but it's to do with the scale of ambition - they aren't going to fork out £60m for a new photocopier for the village hall, are they? As for Lord Falmouth and Goonvean, what they get up to has nothing to do with Eden. Guilt by association. I share your disappointment about Jack Clemo's cottage, as it happens, although Cornwall is hardly short of derelict engine houses.

    |   10
  • cronky3  |  January 08 2014, 10:49PM

    @cweatherhill: Schadenfreude = taking pleasure in the misfortunes of others. As I suspect you well know.

    |   8
  • AnBalores  |  January 08 2014, 10:36PM

    Love the way Truro England refreshes his browser and issues those red arrows. He thinks that is getting one up you see. Typical of his sort.

    |   -6
  • cweatherhill  |  January 08 2014, 9:47PM

    Cronky - plenty of Cornish businesses and ventures applied for Lottery funding and Objective One, and a good many, including some excellent ideas, weren't even considered. "We don't want any of that Cornish rubbish", said an Objective One man at Exeter, managing to forget that Obj. 1 was given to Cornwall, not Exeter. I don't speak German, so please render your word in its close relative, English. Bodelva wasn't worked out, and Goonvean... isn't that Lord Falmouth, for whom a Grade II* engine house was demolished, along with Jack Clemo's cottage? A lot of heritage care there.......

    |   -1
  • cronky3  |  January 08 2014, 8:20PM

    @cweatherhill: "The fact is that, without public money, Eden would never have got off the ground. It pulled in several grants from Lottery funding (how many genuinely Cornish businesses can say the same?). OUR money. " The Millennium Lottery money was available to everybody who came up with a good enough idea. Nobody else in Cornwall got off their backsides and went for it. It wasn't public money anyway (OUR money!), it was contributed by people who bought lottery tickets. You or I might wish that the money had been spent on schools and hospitals instead, but it simply wasn't set up for that. Smit had the balls to go for it and pulled it off. Cornwall will never forgive him for that, or at least that portion of Cornwall that comments on local news sites. Which is why there's such a chorus of crowing now the place is in trouble. What's the Cornish for schadenfreude?

    |   11
  • Big_Ger  |  January 08 2014, 7:55PM

    Only 11% of Cornwall's income comes from tourism says an balores. Anyone here fancy the county taking a 11% pay cut? Do you own a small business in Cornwall , is it linked to tourism? Cornish nationalists want to do you out of business. They have no proposals for making things better, only their desperate hate for people from out of county. Did you know that Mebyon Kernow has discussed a "Cornwall only" tourism tax? One which would affect every tourism related business here, putting us at a disadvantage against Devon and Dorset. Be warned, the ideology of Cornish nationalism is profoundly anti-tourism, and anti-English.

    |   -4
  • cweatherhill  |  January 08 2014, 6:42PM

    Nothig to do with the "nimbies", as the Saxon remarks. (Can't help himself, poor chap). The fact is that, without public money, Eden would never have got off the ground. It pulled in several grants from Lottery funding (how many genuinely Cornish businesses can say the same?). OUR money. It had massive loans from Cornwall Council and its predecessor - OUR money again - and has anyone ever asked how much of that was ever paid back? It wouldn't have lasted this long without the money from the James Bond franchise. Not that the Head Gardener is at all concerned. He's swanned off with his knighthood, kept himself clear of liabililty by bowing out, and is now well clued up as to who to tap for more public money to fund his schemes. In the end, Cornwall doesn't need theme parks. It IS one, through its own distinctiveness. But, if a theme park was needed, then let it be relevant to Cornwall's heritage (Geevor being a very good example of what can be done, and sensitively, too, since it was taken under the wing of local people). The last person who said that Cornwall needed to be dragged "kicking and screaming into the 21st century" was a certain Peter de Savary. Where's he now, Truro not England?

    |   -4
  • yveyk  |  January 08 2014, 6:34PM

    As a tourist attraction it leaves a lot to be desired. You can blame everyone, but the cost of entry is overblown, do I want to pay that much to see a few plants? Not really I've been twice, but wouldn't go again. This is probably the same story for most of us living in Cornwall. The shop is way over priced for gifts and the food is overpriced for what it is.

    |   4
  • kernewegor  |  January 08 2014, 6:02PM

    You can tell where the troll calling himself 'Truro England' is coming from... he is here to tell the Cornish what to think.. as far as improving road acces to Cornwall goes, the myth that that is the key to prosperity was effectively exposed in Cornwall at the Crossroads more than two decades ago. Good communications enable centralisation of political and economic power. The so-called UK is the most centralised state in Europe, and London feeds on the rest of us. That is why Scotland wants out. That's why Cornwall and Wales need to follow Scotland's example. Then if we wanted to turn a china clay pit with 20 years of life left in it into a bottomless pit in which to throw our money, at least it would be our decision.

    |   -11

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