Civic Pride?

Paul has sent us a couple of photos of the central reservation in Pembroke Broadway.  He wonders whether Surrey Heath has ANY civic pride.

It’s pretty indisputable that Paul’s photos show total neglect.  But, just maybe ‘the virus’ is responsible.  (Though we recall the vegetation was in a fairly dire state before the lockdown started.)  Who knows?

SHBC – what a shambles.

We’ve been sent an extract from the latest edition of Private Eye:

Now, we’ve listened to a recording of the audit meeting.  However, we’ve not detected some of the ‘facts’ reported above.  Certainly, the auditors said that the value placed on the mall in March 2019 (the end of the audit period) was ‘toppy’ and ‘fairly aggressive’.  Although it was not necessarily wrong, a more cautious figure would, indeed, be £23 million lower.  And, at the time of the meeting just over a year later, the situation would look ‘horrific’.  However, the figure of £66 million almost certainly comes from a different source than the recording.  Nor does the recording really indicate that councillors were ‘aghast’.

What Private Eye has completely failed to report is the appalling quality of the accounting skills of the council.  The number of errors in the draft accounts meant that the auditor had to devote two and a half times more effort than budgetted to process the data.  The activity had been ‘painful and protracted’.  In comparison to ‘normal’ councils, Surrey Heath’s performance was said to be in the ‘lower quartile’.

One councillor strongly urged that the audit report – which was already finalised – should emphase the failure of management controls in the matter of the previous chief executive’s ‘additional duties allowance’.  But what struck us was that the previous chief executive was responsible for the quality and performance of the staff under her.  If she had concentrated less on her own finances, and more on ensuring the council’s competence, the audit meeting might not have had to listen to such a woeful story.

Watchetts Recreation Ground pitches

The pitches in Watchetts Park have been newly white-lined.  Presumably play will be resumed before long…

CORRECTION

Our mind was obviously on other things when we took that photo.  We assumed that we were looking at a Rugby football pitch, but that’s not what the photo seems to show.  So – as the Eye isn’t of a sportive disposition – what were we looking at?

Parking will be such sweet sorrow…

The council’s executive committee meets on Tuesday when it will consider that ‘the temporary suspension of parking charges in Camberley town centre be lifted on 13 July 2020’.  One hour’s free parking in the Knoll Road car park – which, as we sniffly pointed out the other day, is still advertised widely although it appears that it has been suspended – will be reintroduced.  The provision of free parking is costing the council about £4000 a day, so it’s probably not too difficult to guess the committee’s decision.

The above letter to councillors states that the meeting will be broadcast via YouTube.

Mystery shops

We’ve received suggestions that a couple of Camberley shops might be closing down. The stock does seem to be being removed from Camberley Angling and Airsoft.  (Of course, it’s not so long ago that the shop was apparently going to close, but that it then had a reprieve.)  But the windows of Kingsley’s Barbers have been so carefully covered in plastic sheeting that it seems more likely that the shop is getting ready to re-open before long.  Let’s hope that that’s the situation.