Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Caravan site proceeds?

Has anyone heard anything about what has happened to the seven million plus pounds that STC received from Darwin to purchase the lease of the muni? I am interested because it was an important town asset and rumours have floated around that not all the money has been received. I thought STC was meant to strive for transparency? I have scoured all financial reports and cannot see where it has wound up, been invested or spent. Perhaps I have missed something. Do I need to file a FOI request to find out where our family silver ended up? I would have thought STC would tell us rather than hide what has happened. It makes for better government.



Posted by Anonymous to swanageview at 23/2/11 8:50 PM

30 comments:

The Postman said...

It's not my job to be an apologist for the council ... but it has all been detailed in council minutes. In short, the money has been invested at the best possible rate, with security of the assets in mind too. There's no secrecy, but if you want more — come along to a council meeting and ask your questions.

Anonymous said...

OK, Mike, I will. The problem has been that a lot of the minutes lack detail (and a lot are exempt from public scrutiny). The sub-committee that has been in charge of this has not produced details records for the public. But I will persevere and if necessary I will publish this online for the Council, even if I have to use FOI.

Mike, be aware that as a member of STC you receive committee minutes and other documents that are not available to the general public. I wonder whether council members are aware of what is 'public' and what is ''private'?

I have the highest regard for Martin, but I wish the Council would live up to its promise for transparency, including the ridiculous protocol of exempting certain portions of meeting (and subsequent minutes) from public scrutiny (under which the information about this issue has been conducted). In my view, the only time this should be invoked is when it has to do with issues regarding employees of the council.

ethel said...

Is it a possibility that the new park owners, Darwin, are in dispute with Swanage Town Council over how much money to pay them. Maybe they do not want to pay the full amount as per Business Sale Agreement.
Are Swanage locals dipping out again by the advice given, and behaviour of their elected council?
Do STC have insurance to cover the bad advice given re the Business Sale Agreement?

Some questions for locals to think about.

Anonymous said...

Scroll down to Item 109 for some info.

http://www.swanage.gov.uk/pdf/meetings/minutes-extraordinary-november_2010.pdf

Looks as though the income from interest and the rent from Darwin will be just shy of 400000 pounds this year (gross). Not bad, but as inflation eats into the value of the capital investment, this will dissipate over time, unless the income is rolled over into the capital. That is what I want to know: is the capital being preserved in line with inflation?

Anonymous said...

Ethel-

As you are an owner at the park, and are not a rate payer of the Town of Swanage, I suggest you finally accept that the sale is now water over the dam, and move on. The people of Swanage are no longer interested in the views/complaints/arguments of the caravan owners. How is your little dispute with Darwin coming? You should focus on that issue. You are welcomed guests to our town, but our business is ours, and yours is yours. Please stop stirring. It is over. Your battle with the town has ended and you did not win.

ethel said...

5.46 anonymous.

I am a rate payer of Swanage, therefore it is my business.
The caravan owners do not have any dispute with anyone. Darwin have a dispute with Swanage TC.

Do you have inside information on the outcome of the 'battle' as you call it? If so, do tell us.

Anonymous said...

Ethel-

Business rates are quite different.

Love xxxxxx

Anonymous said...

I'm a registered elector in Swanage. I'd like to know-;
1) what has happened to the money?
2) Are we going to be worse off haveing sold the park?
3) has STC got to pay back £1.8M over the next 5 years?
4) has STC got to pay £50k to Darwin for legal cost to fight owners?

Anonymous said...

Yes
Yes
Yes
and Yes.

This is why Darwin is playing softball with the owners. They can reclaim their losses from Darwin without unduly driving away their punters. The former Town Clerk and Mayor thought they had a good deal.

The moment Darwin can no longer tap into the town's money according to this agreement (I have heard it is valid for two years), it will hike the rates based upon all deferred rises announced since it bought the lease to the park. Look for fees over 5k a year in 2012.

Anonymous said...

'They can reclaim their losses from Darwin '

Oops...I meant STC, not Darwin!

Anonymous said...

The agreement is £1.8mil over 5 years.

Anonymous said...

Can't hike the fees to owners who have STC licence as STC were in such a rush to sell they reached an agreement with owners,RPI increase only. Thats why Darwin are going after the Council. Owners with Darwin licences will have to fight under "unfair terms in contract.

Anonymous said...

'The agreement is £1.8mil over 5 years.'

Nine million total? I don't think so. In any event, the STC minutes cited above indicate an investment portfolio of 7 million is already in hand.

Anonymous said...

£1.8Mil IN TOTAL spread over 5 years. I could only find about 5 - 5.5mil invested. Not sure if Darwin cash (about 2mil) held by 3rd party.
It's all in the Business Sale Agreement. If you ask the caravan owners nicley I'm sure they will give you a copy. It will probably be quicker than asking STC

Anonymous said...

I heard a rumour that the money has been ear-marked to pay for the proposed new secondary school for swanage?

Anonymous said...

Town Council money is not usually used for new schools, or any schools for that matter. It comes from central government and county coffers.

At a meeting there was made a request to STC to use some of it to invest in high speed internet in Purbeck. It was explained that this money is to be invested to produce an income for the town so, in theory at least, the most the town could offer to a new school or any other project would come from the interest income.

Anonymous said...

'It's all in the Business Sale Agreement. If you ask the caravan owners nicley I'm sure they will give you a copy. It will probably be quicker than asking STC'

I have no desire to ask the caravan owners for anything 'nicley'. I am tired of their continued desire to criticise our town. How boring this has become. The person who posted this message should be sure they know what is on the Cards before they attack our town.

Ethel said...

post. 1.27 am.
I dont think anyone on here is criticising 'your' town. I love Swanage. I wonder if you are the same poster who stated I am a caravan owner and should mind my own business.
Re post 5.46.24/2
Your terminology 'water over the dam' is an Americanism, is this where you hail from? We have open discussions here in my country, not hidden and anonymous.
Our Tea Parties are open and pleasurable experiences, usually held in the afternoon. My name is Ethel, I am not anonymous.

HALIBERT said...

“The person who posted this message should be sure they know what is on the Cards before they attack our town.”


First time I’ve commented for a long while. But this “anonymous” neglected to mention the immigration control to enter Swanage, also the Country. Now I know we have rules for entering Great Britain but entering and living in Swanage is new to me.


“I have no desire to ask the caravan owners for anything 'nicley'.”

Demanding Aggressively will get you nowhere it might even result in the Sargent paying a call.
We don’t have “Bill of Rights” but we do get a vote and unless voters know what has happened to their cash how can any one make an informed decision? By your attitude you are denying them that right. The local council are, like America, not always right.

My name is Halibert and I’m not anonymous

David furmage said...

And my name is David Furmage

Why should the money go towards a new school? In 2 to 4 yrs time we will be used to our kids going to purbeck school. Its like people are actually scared for their kids to go out of swanage and meet people from other towns.

What it should be spent on is doing up to football club and put a sport centre next to it or perhaps a waterpark on the sandpit would be nice. Or build a Marina.

Anonymous said...

"It was explained that this money is to be invested to produce an income for the town so, in theory at least, the most the town could offer to a new school or any other project would come from the interest income".

It would be interesting to have a local referendum on whether people want their money which is controlled by the town council spent on a new school as well as their council tax payments to DCC being spent on the existing ones. I for one would object to money that should be spent for the benefit of the town being used to duplicate the existing school service.

Ethel said...

I have tried to post, it appears then disappears! Can anyone explain?
There is no swearing,blasphemy, libelous or insulting within the post.Just facts about SBV and STC.

The Postman said...

Do get a message saying your comment is too long? Try condensing your message or posting in segments.

Ethel said...

No message received. Just disappeared.
Will have another go later. Thanks Postman

Anonymous said...

In 2 to 4 years the older population of Swanage will get used to having no James Day home, we would all get used to having no hospital and no Day Care Centre too as there's perfectly good ones & a sports centre in Wareham.
Why duplicate any of them in Swanage?
Because the residents of Swanage shouldn't have to do without any of these facilities and services. Swanage is an amazing place to live for all ages, thousands of children come from all over the country to visit and learn here in our outdoor education centres, hundreds of thousand people come for their holidays and enjoy our beaches.
Yet it seems to me that over the years we have been short changed because of our geographical location and we need to stop this trend now and make sure that we don't lose anything else.
As long as the council protect the proceeds from the Caravan park and invest / spend it wisely for the long term benefit of Swanage.

Ethel said...

My post timed 5.21 6 Mar, is one I have been trying to post for a week now. for some reason it keeps disappearing after a few minutes.

Ethel said...

5.26 its gone! again. its not too long, as Postman advised, I've seen longeron here.

The Postman said...

The Postman wrote this has all been detailed in the council minutes. I cannot open most of the recent pages from the link below, has anyone else got the same problem ?
http://www.swanage.gov.uk/pdf/meetings/

One page I can open shows the public were excluded from five discussions at a meeting regarding the quarry site, occupation of grazing land, caravan sales commission, amusement park lease and the council depot site.
http://www.swanage.gov.uk/pdf/meetings/minutes_-_p__p_-20_december__2010.pdf

It is difficult to search through the minutes but I have found £1.5 million invested at 1.8%, £3 million at 2.5%, £4 million "had been" invested on the money markets at 0.6-0.8%. From STC accounts the cost of the caravan park sale was £137,774. £50,000 legal expenses can be claimed from STC by Darwin. As mentioned a maximum of £1.8 million indemnities. Darwin pay an annual rent of £30,000 not linked to inflation.

I cannot see how this can return "just shy of 400000 pounds" mentioned earlier. Put simply, every £1 million invested at 2.5% gives £25,000 annual return.

I would have thought the best option would have been for STC to set up an arms length company to manage SBVHP. As there is no secrecy involved can someone please properly explain why this was not done.


(posted on behalf of 'ethel')

The Postman said...

well, I managed to post 'ethel's comment. If it continues to disappear, I'm afraid that I don't know why – can only reassure you that I'm not removing it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Mr.Postman for successfully posting the message. To paraphrase comments in Parliament last week, as long as these questions go unanswered, doubts will remain.