Despite the public’s pleas to stay above politics, fears remain The Edge remains a political football being kicked back and forth – with Haslemere residents and Edge users stuck in the middle.
MP Jeremy Hunt included a section on The Edge in his South West Surrey newsletter last week, in which he stated: “Our team continues to try to get Waverley to reverse its decision to close the Edge.
“I have written to the leader of Waverley Borough Council (WBC) and very much hope Waverley reinstate their long lease on the site, especially given Waverley’s huge dilapidations liability (perhaps £1m, to £2m) is ultimately far more expensive for council tax payers than just keeping the centre open.”
In response, Paul Follows, the leader of WBC, asked Mr Hunt why he had repeated “incorrect and inaccurate information” about The Edge.
He said Surrey County Council was quoting ‘raw figures’ which would be subject to negotiation.
He continued: “At present Surrey have not even supplied Waverley with a schedule that this number is drawn from but it is hardly likely that Waverley would agree such a number and assumes absolutely no push pack from WBC. I might as well have quoted an incredibly low number as our starting position, and it would have been equally invalid.
“Even if it was at that level (and it is not), I feel surprised that I need to explain the difference between a capital/one-off expenditure versus revenue spend to the Chancellor of the Exchequer?
“This deliberate political points-scoring serves absolutely no-one at all and certainly not the community of Haslemere.
“If you intend to be an honest broker in this situation and assist us in helping the community, can I ask you please cease these divisive tactics?”
Mr Hunt and Mr Follows will be going head-to-head in the next general election.
And while the politicians played to and fro, Chris Grimes, the Sports Haslemere chairman, asked: “Where is the urgency?”