A RESOUNDING all-party “no” was the verdict at last Thursday’s Woking Borough Council meeting in response to a recommendation by the executive committee to support RHS Wisley’s application for a grant of £100,000.
There was an impressive display of unity from councillors across the political spectrum in their unequivocal rejection of the proposal.
Only council leader David Bittleston supported the motion to approve the grant, with 24 voting against the motion and four abstentions.
First to speak in the debate was Liberal Democrat Will Forster.
“The Lib Dems and I do not support this application for a grant to RHS Wisley,” he said.
Cllr Forster said that, last year, Citizens Advice, Woking, got £38,000 less than the year before, and the local credit union asked for £18,000 in grants but got £12,000.
“When the Meadow Sports Group in my ward, which supports young people getting physically active and having a healthy lifestyle, sought £15,000 funding, they secured just £4,000,” he said.
“When another organisation outside our borough, the Surrey Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre, sought £25,000 for work they do in our area in a building inside our area, not outside, they didn’t get anything – not a penny,” added Cllr Forster.
Cllr Bittleston was vigorous in his support for the application. He said the RHS Wisley grant would not affect other revenue account grants, as it would come from the capital account.
“We already give significantly more – 10 times more in some cases – to local community groups than many other boroughs and districts,” he said.
“We are an exemplar and the RHS Wisley request would not be a revenue account spend.”
He added that the benefit of giving the money to RHS Wisley “would be enormous for the residents of the borough”.
For the full story get the 1 August edition of the News & Mail