Warwick District Council is behaving like a jealous child, wanting the toys of the kid next door and not valuing the toys at home. Fargo Village in Coventry has the advantage that it is in a big city with a population of 330,000 including two big universities. The proposed Spencer Street copy in Leamington (pop, 56,000) may echo the restoration of the railway arches in Old Town – opening with much fanfare but with disappointing long-term returns.
The Pump Rooms are arguably the most important building in Leamington and if the roof requires £2 million to repair it, this should be spent, and quickly, before dry rot sets in. Between 2013 and 2014 WDC unrestricted reserves have risen by £9.6 million. Was this achieved by skimping the maintenance and repair of assets - for which the councillors are the stewards, not the owners?
Moving the library from the Pump Rooms to the town hall (or anywhere else) will certainly cost money and will not contribute to mending the roof of either building unless a long-term commercial repairing lease/sale (discounted to reflect the present state of repair?) for the library and other spaces is in place.
Is WDC expecting its Fairy Godmother to pay yet more millions for the proposed footbridge over the River Leam? This is a new toy and they find it very exciting.
Marianne Pitts, via email