Letter to the Faringdon Folly

Sir, The saga of Faringdon's Pump House has gone on for many years now, and shows no signs of improving. The Town Council is determined to push through the redevelopment of the Pump House despite its questionable financial basis. The Council are continuing to pour money into this project. I would love to see the Pump House restored to its former glory, but it is not worth the financial burden that the town are being loaded with. Not only are local taxpayers already contributing £77,600 to the Pump House (almost a third of the Town's precept) but the Town Council has also taken out a loan of £150,000, burdening the Town with the debt until 2028. I am sure that most residents are unaware of the cost of this project, and would be as concerned as I am that this is not the best way to deal with the problem. It is true that returning the building to Lord Faringdon will have a substantial cost, but it will not present the Town with a loss making building. The Town Council's own consultants reported that anything except returning the building would lead to an annual loss of between £13,200 and £33,780 a year, and that is without interest payments! I have not seen a satisfactory business plan that shows that the Council can even break even on running costs. It is my fear that if this project continues Faringdon will be famous for having two follies!