Hectares

canal boat at Colwick Marina
The Education and visitors centre at Bute park
Visitors Centre at Myddleton House Gardens
Image 1: Colwick Marina © Nottingham City Council;
Image 2: Bute Park Education Centre © visitcardiff.com;
Image 3: Visitors Centre © Lee Valley Regional Park Authority;
Direct Commercial Activities
Direct Commercial Activities

Overview

Direct commercial activities are the provision of goods and services in-house on site.  This is compared to concessions which are provided by external organisations.  The decision to provide goods and services in-house is usually because higher profits can be generated. Examples of direct commercial activities include:

  • Cafes/restaurants
  • Sporting facilities
  • Holiday and after school clubs
  • Meeting and conference rooms
  • Shops and stalls
  • Mobile caterers


Directly delivering commercial activities is riskier than using concessions, however the rewards are greater.  Direct delivery requires sufficient skills and resources in-house to manage and operate the activity.  As such there is more to go wrong than contracting the risk out to an external organisation.

It may be worth developing a business plan to establish whether you can profitably deliver the activity yourself.  The business plan should consider what revenue and capital costs you will incur, what staffing resource the activity will require, potential demand for the activity and what price people will be willing to pay.

It can be beneficial to compare the proposed activity against organisations who are delivering a similar service.  This will help to identify what an acceptable price for the activity is and provide an understanding of the types of business models that are most effective.

In practice parks and open spaces often use a combination of directly delivering commercial activity and using concessions.

Questions to Consider

The Land is suitable for
Do you have the skills and capacity in-house to deliver the activity?

The Land is suitable for
How much risk are you willing to bear?

The Land is suitable for
Will it be profitable doing it yourself?

The Land is suitable for
What is the minimum level of income you need/want to make it ‘worth it’?

The Land is suitable for
How much will it cost to set up?

The Land is suitable for
How much more profit will it generate compared to a concession?

Pros and Cons

The Land is suitable for
Potential for high profits.

The Land is suitable for
Can utilise existing skills and capacity in-house.

The Land is suitable for
Retain full control over how the activity is delivered.

The Land is suitable for
Can be risky and loss making.
The Land is suitable for
Very time and resource intensive to set up and maintain.
The Land is suitable for
Often requires up front capital investment.

Case Studies

Arnos Vale Cemetery

Arnos Vale Cemetery

Arnos Vale is a Victorian cemetery which opened in 1839.  The cemetery was designed to be visually attractive in the style of a Greek Necropol...

View Case Study >
Bournemouth Borough Council

Bournemouth Borough Council

Bournemouth Borough Council is responsible for all of the borough’s public parks and open spaces.  Maintenance is predominantly ‘i...

View Case Study >
Moss Cider Project

Moss Cider Project

The Moss Cider Project is a small enterprise based in Moss Side, Manchester.  It was founded by Dan Hasler, a Moss Side resident.  The id...

View Case Study >
Myddelton House Gardens

Myddelton House Gardens

Myddelton House Gardens was owned by Edward Augustus Bowles, one of Britain’s most famous self-taught gardeners, artists and expert botanists...

View Case Study >
Nottingham City Council

Nottingham City Council

Nottingham City Council looks after 136 parks and gardens across the city.  This includes large tourist attractions and smaller neighbourhood ...

View Case Study >
Rainham Marshes Reserve

Rainham Marshes Reserve

Rainham Marshes Reserve is owned and managed by the RSPB.  It is set in the Thames Gateway, in the Boroughs of Havering and Thurrock, a short ...

View Case Study >
Saltholme Wildlife Reserve and Discovery Park

Saltholme Wildlife Reserve and Discovery Park

Saltholme wildlife reserve and discovery park is in the heart of the Tees Valley.  The reserve was formally a brining site and even a World Wa...

View Case Study >
St James’ Park

St James’ Park

St James' Park is located in Shirley, Southampton. It is an urban municipal park owned and managed by Southampton City Council. The park is 6 acres...

View Case Study >
Tatton Park

Tatton Park

Tatton Park is a historic estate of 809 hectares.  It was owned by the Egerton family from the late Tudor period until 1958 when the last Baro...

View Case Study >
Wyre Community Land Trust

Wyre Community Land Trust

The Wyre Community Land Trust brings together landowners, volunteers and funders to protect and restore the landscape of the Wyre.