Council talks to try to save MelloMello

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MelloMello © Adam Bruderer/creativecommons/Flickr

Campaigners hoping to save Liverpool’s MelloMello cafe from closure were given a boost after the council began negotiations aimed at saving the business.

Last week we reported that LJMU Chancellor and Queen guitarist Brian May had given his backing to MelloMello, which looked set to go into administration after being denied business rates relief by Liverpool City Council

However, Liverpool’s Deputy Mayor Paul Brant has entered “constructive talks” with MelloMello to help restructure parts of their business so they are entitled to relief rates after all.

The Slater Street cafe and live music venue,  set up in a previously derelict building and run solely by volunteers, had faced annual rates of £30,000; a sum which the social enterprise’s managers said spelled the end for MelloMello.

New council plans are trying to help make the venue, which turns over around £170,000 a year, a charitable organisation which will entitle them to business relief rates.

Councillor Paul Brant told JMU Journalism: “We’re not in a position to continue the funding as we’re having to tighten the eligibility criteria for discretionary rate relief, but we want to do everything we can for them to continue.

“If they become a charity they are automatically entitled to mandatory rate relief, and that doesn’t cost the council anything as it’s paid for by central government.

“They’re a great organisation, and we can work with them to bridge the gap they’re currently facing, but it’s a tough time for the council and unfortunately it’s only going to get worse, as we’ve been hit the hardest in the country.”

Councillor Brant added: “ We’ve been looking at alternative ways to work with them and to try and maximize their income.”

Additional reporting by Rachael Leitch

 

About David Williamson, JMU Journalism