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Vendor opportunity: The Old Chapels, Cheltenham Cemetery, Bouncers Lane

Historic chapel building exterior

Outside vending area with inside seating option for customers and WCs. You can see the proposal below, or view in a visual flipbook.

Background

We are exploring the possibility of an enhanced provision at the cemetery and crematorium site. We want to assess the commercial viability of using part (or potentially all) of the two Grade II listed chapels, to secure the future financial position of the buildings and to provide a commercial income that can be delivered from the currently unused buildings.

An options study identified the potential to provide a mixed use of commercial facilities, with the most viable options being:

  • Florists
  • Cafe
  • Wake facilities
Plan showing waiting room area in old chapel

To test the market and ensure future investment is fit for purpose, we are seeking to secure a temporary vendor (with a mobile unit), situated externally, next to the waiting room (marked with a star on the plan above) for a nine month period. The indoor waiting room would provide an indoor seating area and access to WCs. The temporary nine month period should also hopefully cover a seasonal change in weather to further test the demand and market place.

Potential footfall

The new crematorium carries out on average eight services a day, which is around 240 people a day in mourner numbers alone, based on 30 mourners per service. These numbers are based on COVID restrictions and are not indicative of ‘normal numbers’.

As well as this we see a large volume of visitors in terms of people tending graves and visiting memorials for their loved ones. There are several graves of interest which are also visited. One of our most visited graves is Brian Jones from the Rolling Stones.

A survey was carried out in 2016 to measure, for a short period, the volume of cars that passed through the cemetery. Below are the results. With everything taken into account, and combining the added value of foot traffic, the estimated visitor number is around 150,000 plus per year.

 InboundOutboundTwo way
Weekday468470938
Weekend303304607
    

Vendor requirements

Type of vendor

Market research suggests there will be opportunity to sell teas, coffees, a choice of fruit and herbal teas, cold drinks, pastry goods such as quiches, filled pastry rolls, sandwiches, rolls, salads, cakes and so on. The focus would be to provide mainly cold foods and snacks but the provision should cater for all dietary requirements and potentially hot foods such as paninis, toasties and similar. We wish the opportunity to remain sympathetic to the setting, so no alcohol.

Trading hours

In line with cemetery opening and closing times, which is currently 9am to 5pm all weekdays (which is subject to change). You will also be able to trade weekends, but there are no services over the weekends.

Waste and recycling

In line with the Waste Framework Directive 2008/98/EC and the council’s commitment to a net zero carbon council and borough by 2030, we would expect a clear waste and recycling policy with clear processes in place from all vendors.

Vendor size

3 metres x 6 metres, however this is open to discussion. It is important that it has the right aesthetic in terms of size and design, any print must be inoffensive in design on the vehicle (or trailer). We would like you to submit a photograph of the vehicle/ trailer you have in mind for the site, for our consideration. This is not a permanent pitch.

Initial 9 month opportunity

This is a trial opportunity. We will want to be reassured that the whole trial period can be catered for, but we are happy to have ongoing discussions with the successful applicant to ensure the optimum solution for both parties. We are aiming for the vendor to start on site from December 2020, subject to contract and all necessary consents. This may need to be reviewed if there are unforeseen constraints or delays (such as changes in COVID regulations), but we will discuss all of this with the successful applicant.

The council are looking at a more permanent provision to be offered within the building, should the trial be a success. Depending on the outcome the council would probably not look to repeat this opportunity in the same way again in future at this location; however other opportunities may present themselves elsewhere within our parks, or on a more permanent basis from within the Chapels.

Future business (or trading pitches) is not guaranteed and other companies will be offered any opportunity arising. This offering is up to 9 months and the council will be looking at the vendor entering into a Tenancy at Will.

Consents required (if you are successful in securing this opportunity)

  • Tenancy at Will (TAW) subject to contract – legal contract with the council as its capacity as Landowner. Please seek your own professional advice as this is a legal document
  • We will need to agree Heads of Terms for the TAW, please propose terms as part of your submission
    • Risk Assessment Method Statement (RAMS) – including a risk assessment for the management of COVID.
    • Public Liability insurance for a minimum of £5million
  • Street Trading Consent is required – please see our information on street trading licences. This is for the vendor to make their own enquiries, complete any paperwork necessary and to cover all fees and charges due. This is a statutory requirement
  • Planning consent – the council will seek the necessary consents for this temporary opportunity. However, the council will need to know the dimensions of the van, trailer or whatever vehicle will be used as well as photographs of the design. We also need to know if you would like to have an outside seating area and therefore whether you would like to provide a marquee or some sort of undercover arrangement (we need to know numbers, for example number of outside covers, and dimensions if a marquee is proposed). Any changes (no matter how temporary) to the outside areas will need to go through planning, this could also include signage. We expect all these elements to be covered in your submission

Potential areas for use by a vendor and potential layout plan (the eventual layout plan needs to be agreed by all parties and will form part of the TAW).

Plan showing potential layout and areas for use by a vendor

By situating the vendor as shown on the above plan, mourners will see the vendor on their way in. It also allows the vendor to make use of the covered area, the canopy outside, so that customers can shelter on during poor weather. The vendor could situate themselves in the area marked as the ‘outdoor seating area’ and subject to further discussion and agreement, in order to find the optimum solution.

Areas for use:

  • Vendor – for positioning of a temporary vending vehicle or trailer. The council will not request that the vehicle is moved daily, but the vendor has this option
  • Outdoor seating area – the area could be used for car parking, or seating (but not both, to reduce pedestrian / vehicle conflicts). The area could be used to situate the vendor and this is up for discussion and agreement with the successful vendor. Any furniture, marquees etc is for the vendor to supply. Your RAMS should cover how you intend to use and position items
  • Indoor seating area (and WC’s) -the council is happy for this to be used in conjunction with any vendor offering, it will offer shelter for customers in harsher weather. However, it will be for the successful vendor to manage and clean the space to a sufficient standard that will comply with any COVID regulations in force at the time. The plan indicates a possible one way system. Please let the council know if you are able to furnish the space yourselves, otherwise we will seek a basic furniture provision from another venue (on loan), any damages must be paid for. The TAW will require the tenant to be responsible for the internal repairs and maintenance of the space.
    • Car parking – ideally the parking will occur here (diagram below) and will need to be discussed further, to agree the optimum solution.
Plan showing car park area in relation to old chapels

Costs and charges

  • Please note that you are required to make your own enquiries into licencing consents and all fees and charges for this are for the vendor to cover
  • TAW (rent) – please propose a rent that you could afford to pay as part of your submission. However, please keep in mind we would like full disclosure of what you sell, we would like to see the accounts relating to this opportunity, including outgoings, and agreement for an ‘open book’.This is non-negotiable.

If you are interested

We would like you to submit a proposal that explains what you are able to offer and what you can bring to this opportunity, based on the information contained within this document. Elements have been flagged throughout the document and these are fundamental to supporting any submission. You can submit your proposal by email, or in a more formal document attached to an email, to abigail.marshall@cheltenham.gov.uk. Please request acknowledgment of your submission.

Other elements that are important to the council (but are desirable rather than crucial), that will help inform our decision are:

  • Business proximity – are you based or do you live in Cheltenham? We prefer to support our local economy
  • Green credentials – such as carbon footprint, green incentives
  • Local economy/ local suppliers – will you work with other businesses and use your network to broaden out what you can offer (for example, all sandwiches are made by a local firm, individual)
  • Ideas – we want to see what is possible and there may be things we have not considered. We would love to hear your ideas.

The opportunity is ‘subject to contract’, the contract is the Tenancy at Will. If you are interested please submit a proposal for the council’s consideration by: midday, 7 December 2020.

Proposed timescales

Please respond by: midday, Monday, 7 December 2020. We would hope to let the successful applicant know by Monday 14 December 2020. Therefore, we would look for the opportunity to commence Monday, 4 January 2021 subject to everything being in place (TAW, planning and so on).

Important notes

We are looking for the ‘best fit’ and will consider all the information submitted by an applicant. We will not be able to release information of a sensitive nature to other applicants who were not successful, especially if it is commercially sensitive or personal information.

Any information submitted will be held for the purposes of selecting a vendor that we wish to work with in relation to this opportunity alone. It will be retained if you are successful and destroyed within a two week period if you are not successful for GDPR reasons.

Should you wish to be considered for future opportunities please let us know and we will continue to hold basic contact information for you. You may be required to submit similar information again for future opportunities, so please hold on to information for your

own records, do not assume the council already have it. Your information may be shared with internal council teams and partner organisations for the purposes of furthering this opportunity in isolation. It will not be used for marketing purposes.

The applications will be considered by the bereavement team and the property team, and they will make recommendations to the decision maker. The final decision maker will be the executive director of financeand assets. The final decision will be published on the council’s website.

Please contact the estates surveyor to discuss this opportunity and arrange a mutually convenient time and date to meet on site; the best time to raise concerns or questions is PRIOR to the submission date. Matters of interest may be shared with other interested parties, as we want everyone to have the same opportunity. Please ask if you require any further information.

Contact information

Abigail Marshall, estates surveyor

Email: abigail.marshall@cheltenham.gov.uk (best form of contact)

Tel: 01242 264240 (only active whilst at work) please do not leave automated voice mails, these are not guaranteed to reach me.

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