The imminent closure of the Meden Centre and the concern of the residents of Warsop has resulted in the mayor calling for non-political commission of interested parties into the future of Warsop.
The group is to meet regularly and report by the end of 2018. A true politician’s solution – an 18-month talking shop by which time, I believe, the hope is any of those who were concerned about the loss of the Meden Centre will have forgotten, or become frustrated with inaction.
A talking shop which promises good intentions but after much hot air and expenditure will produce a final report for “consideration by local authorities”, no promises of any actions. Of course, everything will be guided by finance and it is more than likely the excuse to do nothing is already written: “We would like to carry out the recommendations but the economic situation and budget cuts from central Government mean we will not be able to implement the details of the report.” Eighteen months of talk, while in the meantime the Meden Centre will be closed and this valuable local asset lost. There are a couple of questions about the Warsop situation which I and possibly the Warsop electorate deserve an answer. Firstly, who was the council official/ portfolio holder who allowed the Meden Centre to get into a situation where it would require more than £1 million to repair and refurbish this facility?
The very least the people of Warsop deserve is a public apology from the council and, dare I say, the cabinet member with responsibility for leisure facilities resign over, in my view, their lack of supervision.
The second point is the district council’s statement that the £1m required for repairs is not available in the budget. Why was provision not made annually for repair of the Meden Centre as everyone knows that any facility is going to reach a point where more than cosmetic repair is required and it is prudent to make financial provision for such events? Having said this, I recall that a number of years ago when economics were better, there was a surplus in the district council’s finances. The mayor and the cabinet decided to invest these surpluses in property with no recourse to the electorate to whom the surplus belonged. One of the properties purchased was an hotel in Edinburgh for about £7m. Now, when a homeowner is faced with a necessary repair to a house, that if not done would result in losing the house, but have no money in the bank but have a valuable asset that if sold would bring in the necessary cash and a surplus, what would the homeowner do? I think there is no contest, sell the asset and do the necessary repairs and re-invest any surplus. Might I suggest the people of the district need help and so the council should sell the hotel and use the money to repair and refurbish the Meden Centre and then reinvest any surplus to help Mansfield residents.
Could the council invest in new local businesses in a Dragon’s Den-style of investment taking equity in the company? The council will say the hotel brings in revenue which helps them to continue to not increase the council tax, but when you have an open wound in your area it needs action not hot air. It needs that surplus which was collected in good times to be returned to help the district, now that the economic situation is more difficult.
Noel Street, Mansfield