‘Your Waverley’ has won the Supermarket Sweep.

 The residents here on planet Waverley are now the proud owners of a circa £7million pound supermarket.

Yipee! Guess we have always wanted to own one rather than playing dodge the unmasked customer in a bid to outwit COVID! 

We know not where said supermarket actually is? So here at the Waverley Web, we stuck a pin in a map of the Waverley environs and it landed somewhere in the middle of Kent. We wonder  – is that county in Waverley’s area of “economic influence?” 
Working from home for our team is no fun – so pinning the tail on the supermarket – sounded like a great new board game. Came in handy whilst home-schooling the kids!
Neither do we know who the supermarket retailer is?  – Could be Tesco ‘every little helps’ or ‘Live Well for Less and  Taste the Difference at Sainsbury’s?’ Or perhaps we could “Live a Lidl – because every Lidl helps?’ Maybe, it is Morrisons or Azda – but our money is on – ‘It’s not just Food its M & S Food’  because Waverley loves the brand as it is pinning all its hopes on the brand as its key stakeholder in Farnham’s Blightwells project?

When ‘Your Waverley’s’  Special Executive met in November – (we have included a link so you can hear it for yourselves.) Or, perhaps to be more precise, we should say, you can hear the bit “YW’ wants you to hear – the remainder was in private. Not everyone was entirely convinced that entering the supermarket stakes with cash straight out of the council till – was a good idea.

Here’s a link to that debate, including a bit of a rant by Godalming Cllr Steve Cosser who outlined his numerous concerns.

Could ‘ Your Waverley’ be entering the Supermarket sweep?

He was surprised the Executive had even considered spending £7m + £400,000 in fees to acquire a supermarket out of town? Even more, so that it came from internal borrowing. How could a council that was pleading poverty consider finding such a large sum of money – and how much more was buried in its accounts?

He claimed the proposal was an abandonment of the council’s strategy to only invest in an “area of economic influence,”

We have heard from a few residents that are not entirely delighted with the prospect of pushing the trolley full of public money out into – we know not where. Perhaps someone soon will tell us where the Supermarket is – so we can shop there, once the lock-down is lifted of course, so we can boost our own investment income?
You can listen to the debate here:


Here’s what one of our followers wants to know?

Special Executive Meeting on the 20th Nov 2020 approximately 21 mins into the meeting. Councillor Steve Cosser quotes on record to the proposed purchase of a supermarket (not local) at a cost of £7 million pounds and fees of £.4 million. Why would the remaining councillors attending the same meeting as Councillor Cosser not object after his good argument of funds being used elsewhere? Everything about this deal is suspicious use of public funds is it not?

My questions would be?
1. Who advised them?
2. Who is proposing to do the legal work and who is connected to who (good work if you can get it?)
3. Do they think the taxpaying residents would be happy with the decision made by the councillors?
4. Could this be pensions pocketing exercise rather than the needs of the inhabitants?
5. Who in the council has ever paid more in legal fees and costs for an asset (their homes?)


8 thoughts on “‘Your Waverley’ has won the Supermarket Sweep.”

  1. Every County and Borough Council has a property investment portfolio. Without the rental income generated by these investments, there would be insufficient funds to pay for council services! This is due to central government, who have year by year, stripped local authorities (especially Borough councils) of proper funding.
    Admittedly some councils have overstepped the bounds of prudent housekeeping (Croydon and Thurrock spring to mind) but Waverley have restrained themselves with the exception of Brighwells which scared the previous conservative administration witless.
    The new administration with Mark Merryweather as Portfolio Holder for Finance, strike a different tone completely with open and honest accounting.
    The supermarket investment mentioned is a four year contract to generate funds to balance the books that have been stripped by the pandemic (HMG not keeping their promises to cover losses of revenue due to the lockdowns)

    1. Thank you John, I was about to make very similar points.

      I can give full assurance that this (by comparison to many councils) very small foray into property investment was done with significant caution and good sense (as well as a great deal of professional input and an executive at WBC that have similar experience to bring to the discussion).

      The funding (or lack thereof) from central government means this will likely not be the last.

      1. Wouldn’t it be great if the council told us – (a) where the supermarket is – as we here at the WW just stuck a pin into a map! (b) The name of the retailer and (c) how long the lease is?

        Then we can all trolley along there when the lockdown ends.

    2. A great explanation which should satisfy the comments of one of our followers who queried the wisdom of this investment.

  2. I was unaware of this proposal (family matters during Oct, Nov, Dec) so I have just watched the Exec. meeting in full. I do not have any objection, in principal, to buying investment properties outside the area but perhaps Cllr Follows could clarify one point for me. Peter Martin made reference to an 8 year lease and I could not believe we were going to be purchasing a leasehold of that length. Cllr Merriweather did not comment on this in his replies so I was more confused. In his summation for the vote Cllr Ward referred to the purchase of a freehold, does this mean the supermarket has 8 years remaining on the lease? If so what is the Council strategy if the tenant does not wish to renew the lease? As the purcase has now been made can we be told where it is and who the tenants are?

  3. So let’s try and answer some of the questions:

    1) We (WBC) own the freehold;
    2) the tenant is M&S in West Wickham (specifically an M&S Food)
    3) we have factored in their plans when the current lease is up for renewal.

    More detail now available in the public domain, please see the VfM reports pack on the WBC website for the meeting of that committee next week.

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