Typo is not to blame for exceptional operational costs in the 17/18 Financial Year

The Swindon Advertiser on Saturday 26 January 2019 incorrectly reported the detail regarding the amount £445,456 that Cllr Brooker referred to at a recent meeting.  This figure has been analysed and confirmed by our Council Officers who has clarified that there was no typo that contributed to this figure.  This is confirmed within the published end of year budget detail report whereby the income and expenditure is listed for the Grange Leisure Centre.

This figure was an operational deficit for the Leisure Centre following a year of high costs in the 17/18 financial year due to building repairs and maintenance. The boilers and the plumbing for the Leisure Centre needed to be repaired as well as emergency electrical repairs following a Fire Risk Assessment. The cost of this was met through the Councils reserve account.

Each year the Parish Council when it receives its Precept passes a set amount to the Leisure Centre bank account to help with the running cost of the Leisure Centre and this has been in the region of £200k each year. The Leisure Centre is owned and managed by the Parish Council, we however keep separate bank accounts so that we can easily identify budget costs.  To confirm the Parish Council and the Leisure centre are not in debt, as the deficit was met using Council reserves.

All of the accounts are audited yearly by an internal and external auditor. We are now audited by Swindon Borough Council annually.

The Council agreed to undertake a feasibility study to identify if they would be best to work in partnership with a social enterprise company who will be able to invest the necessary time, money and skill that is required to keep the Leisure centre an up to date and viable asset. The Council has no intention to ‘sell off’ the Leisure Centre.

The Council employs a highly experienced and qualified Clerk and Officers to administer the finances of the Council, however the Council as a corporate body and its Parish Councillors are accountable for its financial affairs and meet monthly to monitor the budgets – therefore its decisions are the responsibility of the whole council and all councillors share collective responsibility for the financial management of the council.

Following the Press release there has been a number of negative comments towards the Council and its staff which is manipulating and mischievous, putting the Council in bad light on the basis of misrepresentation and a flawed understanding of the situation. The Council will not respond to anonymous messages.

If members of the electorate would like to meet in person to gain a better understanding of the Council finances then please provide your name and address to the Clerk to the Council to arrange a meeting. Email:

Stratton St Margaret Parish Council