There are 5.8 million reasons why Epsom’s Residents’ Association (RA) council might consider selling the Wells Social Centre. That’s how much in £s the council is in deficit for 2020/21!
While all councils have been hit by the effects of Covid-19, RA council losses now stand at almost £1 million for the financial year after dipping into its strategic reserves. Could RA council leader Eber Kington now see that a sale of the Wells centre in favour of Surrey residents would drastically cut its debts?
Part of the problem for the RA has been the enormous losses of its flagship venue of Bourne Hall. After wracking up losses of £500,000 in the previous pre-Covid financial year, this venue slumped a further 50% to around a £750,000 loss in this financial year. Epsom Playhouse must have again plunged deeply into loss, too.
£50 million in debts on the side
The RA council’s near £1 million annual loss and its ongoing deficit are not even the council’s only debts. Some years ago the RA joined in the countrywide council craze of buying properties through ‘arms length’ companies to rent in an effort to boost annual income. The company set up by this small council had mortgages of £50 million with a payback period of 50 years. Ask leaders of bankrupt Croydon council if its £1 billion high-roller property borrowing was a good idea…
The RA council has been pressing ahead on rejigging its plan to demolish the Wells Social Centre and build an unsightly block of 23 flats in its place. With the RA’s staggering on-going losses, can this council really now risk a further punt into speculative home building?
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