You could trawl through Waverley Council’s Overview & Scrutiny Value for Money Committee Agenda for its meeting this week – however, you could lose the will to live! So here at the Waverley Web one of our blokes with nothing better to do trawled through until he got to page 190 where he found this? So there you have it – we, the ratepayers bought a supermarket on 1st December – just in time for Christmas. ‘ Your Waverley’ has won the Supermarket Sweep.
However, thankfully we have this information posted on the Waverley Web comments page from Deputy `Leader ~Paul Follows – who is as good as his word about being “transparent honest and open with us” – the voting fodder.
Here’s what he had to say:
‘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.
So our sticking a pin in the map wasn’t far wrong – though our guys first thought the supermarket was in Hampshire, but then Kent.
Reading other reports of meetings to be held this week it is quite obvious that unless councils make investments like these to generate further income – in a few years time they will go BUST! It would appear this year it gets NO Government grant. So we’re home alone folks!
This is due to central government’s year by year plan, to strip local authorities (especially Borough and district councils) of proper funding.
There is no doubt that some councils – including several in Surrey – have overstepped the bounds of prudent housekeeping, but Waverley has restrained itself with the exception of Brighwells which is funded by circa £53m of Surrey County Council’s pension-fund money. A move which scared the previous conservative administration witless, but which, despite many warnings, it carried on regardless. Only time will tell if Farnham’s Brightwells is a big golden egg or a big white elephant? It hopes to open the development in July – with the Reel Cinema opening in August.
The new administration with Mark Merryweather at the helm as Portfolio Holder for Finance has struck 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 (HM Government is not keeping its promises to cover losses of revenue due to the lockdowns, despite pledges to the contrary) Communities Minister Robert Jenrick promises councils will not be out of pocket by Covid-19. But ‘ Your Waverley’ is not so sure.