Recently the Executive of Wokingham Borough Council voted to take over the management of Bulmershe Leisure Centre from April 2014. The Wokingham Borough Councillors received a report stating that Woodley Town Council had indicated that it would like to give up the Bulmershe Lease before March 2015 and that the town council had indicated in October that they were willing to surrender the lease from Apr 2014. This was a big shock to councillors as they had not made any decision regarding the future of the leisure centre
At Tuesday’s (4th Feb 2014) Strategy and Resources committee meeting Lib Dem members of Woodley’s S+R committee were furious that the Town Council committees or Full Council had not been involved in any decision about surrendering the lease early.
Beth Rowland, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group at Woodley said “It is disgraceful if Wokingham Borough Council have been given any indication about the town council’s approach to the end of the Bulmershe lease prior to the issue being discussed by members of the council” she added “All town councillors were democratically elected to make these decisions, it is not down to the personal opinion of one person”.
Beth added “This lack of transparency means that town councillors may have been asked to make decisions, such as the youth club at Bulmershe without the knowledge that an indication about the future of Bulmershe Leisure Centre had already been given to the borough council by the town council”
The town clerk has confirmed that no such indication had been made by officers.
Phil Challis, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group said “There is no Executive Leadership role in the town council; we make decisions by committees and full council meetings”. He went on “I was pleased we got cross party support for a Lib Dem request to ask Wokingham Borough Council how they gained the impression that this decision had already been made, although I do regret that Cllr Baker and his deputy leader voted against. This issue challenges the fundamental principal about how towns and boroughs work together.”