Since taking overall control of Waverley Borough Council in May the new administration has had its fair share of surprises.
As it delves into the past workings of a Tory administration which held power for more than a decade, the new boys and girls on The Burys block are uncovering some uncomfortable truths.
Included are all those once-hidden documents revealing that the development dubbed by Farnham residents ‘The Great Blightwells scandal’ – are being dusted off and are now seeing the light of day. Predictions of huge pay-backs from investments – of our land and our money, made by Waverley & Surrey County Council are beginning to look rather threadbare. Let’s all look forward to an Independent Audit of this unfortunate £140m contract. A really Independent Audit and not one carried out by the CEO’s former honchos at East Hampshire County Council, who seem to be the usual conduit for carrying out internal investigations.
We now understand the developer Crest Nicholson is offering existing Farnham businesses two years rent-free if they move into Blightwells!
Promises made by the outgoing Tory administration just weeks before the May polls that money would be forthcoming for the new Frensham Visitors’ Centre, didn’t materialise. So how will that be funded?
Pledges of spending over £12m on a new leisure centre for Cranleigh is looking less certain, because, quite simply ‘Your Waverley’s’ new administration will have to borrow the money. Though we understand the new centre is a MUST, as boilers are failing and the centre is falling apart at the seams. So doing nothing is not an option.
A £23m contract negotiated and approved by the Tories in April last year giving MITIE’s – MPS (Mitie Property Services) the lucrative homes’ maintenance contract was handed back by the contractor shortly before Christmas because it cannot fulfil its obligations. It gave 13 weeks notice to terminate the contract.
The Executive will now have to stump up £200,00 to find an interim contractor willing to undertake vital maintenance work, as a temporary fix. Including a shedload of back-dated work that Waverley’s tenants have been crying out to be completed for months. How long will they be forced to wait now?
The concerns voiced by some councillors, including Cllr Jerry Hyman and Cllr Elizabeth Townsend were ignored before the contract was awarded. So where exactly was the Due Diligence conducted, by officers on the contractors’ ability to meet its obligations under a contract on which the ink is hardly dry? And, when will the Chief Executive Tom Horwood start taking responsibility for past mistakes?