Both the value and life expectancy of Waverley’s Leisure Centres are going down. This includes Haslemere and Farnham – but in particular, CRANLEIGH is reaching its ‘SELL BY DATE!’
During the completion of ‘Your Waverley’s Annual Accounts – Auditors Grant Thornton – identified that adjustments were needed to properly recognise the condition and life expectancy of the council’s property holdings, and provision of services. This included its Leisure Centres. Resulting in an overall adjustment of minus £9.5m.
A report to an Extraordinary Meeting of the Audit Committee this week stated:
‘Our findings have identified a number of adjustments to the financial statements resulting in an overall adjustment of £9.5m to the Council’s surplus/deficit on the provision of services in the Comprehensive Income and Expenditure Statement. We have also raised recommendations for management, as a result of our audit work.’
The life expectancy of Farnham and Haslemere Centres is 54 years and 56 years respectively.
To which Cllr John Gray remarked – “That’s an awfully long time. – The world will have changed a great deal in 56 years!” However, he wanted assurances from officers that they were satisfied that an increase in Cranleigh’s LC’s suggested life expectancy of EIGHT years could be justified.?
Probably because he had heard that poor old Cranleigh’s much-talked-about Leisure Centre that the council says now has a life expectancy of EIGHT years – comes after council experts said TWO years – it only had another TWO years ago!
It also needs a £3.5m investment just to maintain its present condition!
A decidedly worried-looking Cllr Richard Cole, wanted to know more? Bearing in mind that the redevelopment of Cranleigh’s facilities was on the cards once a feasibility study was completed?
For background purposes, the Tories promised Cranleigh a £12m centre shortly before the 2018 May elections – leaving the new administration with a pledge it is now finding difficult to honour – particularly in view of COVID.
What were the concerns about its condition which had been raised by engineers Cllr Cole asked?
Officer Peter Vickers admitted Cranleigh’s centre had problems but confirmed it would remain operational for the “foreseeable future.” He then gave a rather complicated explanation of why engineers had put a 2-year life on the centre in the 18/19 audit, which, he said, was based on,
“something historic that had not transpired for the past two years.”
The WW wonders whether he was referring to the centre’s machinery/ boilers that were expected to pack up, but hadn’t due to other expensive measures that had been put in place to keep them going?
The committee was assured by officers that the condition of the Cranleigh centre had been thoroughly examined, leading to the revised figure of EIGHT years. But possibly, this was something the council’s management should comment on? Officers said much more work on assessing Cranleigh LC would be included in next year’s valuations.
“In reality, the fact is, we need to be developing Cranleigh immediately. Purely because of its age and condition. There are plans to do something MUCH BIGGER for the area – but for the foreseeable future it will remain operational – but a reducing asset.”
“We need something much more from our assets other than it just being a leisure centre. There is more we can do with the land value and the asset – hence the reason why the conversation has been rumbling on for a few years around what we can do with Cranleigh’s centre going forward. The council hasn’t made a decision on it at this point in time, that is why it is an operational asset until such time that a decision has been made on exactly what to do with it.”
Officer Mark Bartlett said the Cranleigh Leisure Centre was the council’s ‘main concern:’ “We would have expected plans to have been well-developed, however, the remaining useful lives of both Haslemere and Farnham have also been significantly reduced.”
The value of Haslemere LC has been reduced by £331,000 but the WW couldn’t find a figure for Cranleigh and Farnham – though a combined figure of £995,000 does appear in the paperwork.
However, Cllr Gray remained dissatisfied by officers’ explanations.
“I have been around for 4 or 5 years and we (The Tory administration) have had our issues but nothing like this! I remain very concerned.” We have Cranleigh Leisure Centre with a life of SIX years (We think he meant Eight) left, and Farnham & Haslemere with 54 and 56 respectively. How have we suddenly come across this only this year when prompted by the Auditors? Why weren’t there management processes in place to pick up these changes before going into the Audit process?
This is what the Auditors said: And here’s a Find Wally game for Christmas
See if you can find the revised valuation figure in this paperwork for Cranleigh Recreation Centre? A bottle of Gin for the winner.