Monday, 22 April 2019

Row over council’s gift to rugby club

Row over council’s gift to rugby club

A FORMER mayor of Henley has criticised the town council for giving money to a sports club when it had only offered a loan to another.

Pam Phillips, who lost her town council seat in 2015, was speaking at a council meeting after Henley Cricket Club repaid the final instalment of a £200,000 loan from the council taken out in 2005.

The club needed the money to buy its ground, off Matson Drive, from Brakspear.

Mrs Phillips, of St Mark’s Road, complained that the council gave £100,000 to Henley Rugby Club in 2015 towards a £475,000 overhaul of its clubhouse at Dry Leas, off Marlow Road.

She was supported by Valerie Alasia, of Makins Road, who said: “Henley Cricket Club deserve credit for all the hard work they’ve put into repaying the loan but why were Henley Rugby Club not given the same terms?”

Mayor Glen Lambert replied: “What can I say? Different times, different council — perhaps not one as wise as this.

“I congratulate the cricket club for making the final payment of the loan. I do appreciate the fact that they made an actual event of it and am very proud of the town council for saving the club as it wouldn’t be here without us.”

Mrs Phillips responded: “It may have been a different council but it was still the councillors around this table that voted to gift the rugby club £100,000.

“I’m concerned that you have treated one club in the town differently from all the others and you shouldn’t be surprised if that comes back to bite you because I will never forget it and neither will many other clubs.”

Councillor Lambert replied: “The rugby club is one group of people who certainly won’t forget it. I know that it has divided opinion but it is history now.”

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