Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Another £360,000 for the Rose Bowl

Local Lib Dem councillors voted on Monday to transfer another huge chunk of public money to the Rose Bowl project. And on Wednesday Nick "no more broken promises" Clegg arrives at the Rose Bowl for a photo opportunity. Coincidence? Perhaps.

I know the cricket ground is currently called the Ageas Bowl, but sponsorship is temporary, tradition is permanent. So I will continue to call it the Rose Bowl to be consistent with this post from 2012.

It was 10:30pm before the last agenda item of the HEWEB Local Area Committee was considered. There was only one other member of the public left. We had shown more stamina than two Lib Dem councillors who had walked out before the end of the meeting. But I was determined the proposal to donate £360,000 to the Poseidon boxing club which is based at the Rose Bowl should not go through on the nod at the end of a busy evening.

I thought £360,000 was a lot of money in today's economic environment. The councillors agreed.

The £360,000 was originally earmarked for countryside and biodiversity purposes. I thought if it was not going to be used for the original project at Moorgreen nature reserve, then it should be assigned to other countryside projects. The councillors disagreed on the grounds that a boxing club is "recreational" so in line with the original developer's contribution agreement. This despite Cllr Tennant complaining earlier in the meeting that there was no money to address drainage problems at Itchen Valley Country Park.

However Cllr House did agree to one concession which was not in the agenda proposal. When Eastleigh Borough Council eventually sells the Rose Bowl, the £360,000 will be returned to the local area committee and won't disappear into the corporate coffers. Which is fine as long as there is somebody around at that time in the future who remembers the agreement made in 2014.

I also thought it was misleading to promote boxing as a healthy pursuit when there is a lot of controversy about the risks to participants. The agenda also claimed almost half Poseidon's membership were aged 14-25, but the club's own web site shows they want to attract children as young as seven.

From a personal point of view, I don't want to ban adults from boxing, but the arguments of those that do want a ban are strong enough to convince me it is wrong to use public money to encourage them. I am even more convinced that it is wrong to use £360,000 of public money to encourage boys and girls as young as seven to embark on a pastime which could lead to their death or a life changing brain injury.

However most of the Lib Dems disagreed. Four considered they knew better than the British Medical Association and British Safety Council and voted to hand the money over. Two voted against and there was one abstention.


  1. I agree with you on this Keith. It doesn't seem appropriate for the Borough Council to be supporting a boxing club, given all the safety concerns that surround the sport. It should be privately funded instead. And £360,000 really is a lot of money, to be investing in such things.

    However, we know that there are already some very strong ties between the Council and the Rose Bowl. It seems to me that those interests have taken precedence over all other considerations...

  2. This beggars belief. In the current economic climate, how on earth can they justify spending more than a quarter of a million pounds of taxpayers' money on this minority activity?

    There are countless more worthwhile ways in which our money could be spent.

    I am one of the many who are sick to death of this profligate, hypocritical LibDem council. I bet they don't highlight this expenditure in their newsletters, thus ensuring that the majority will go unaware of how their taxes are being squandered.

  3. why does a boxing club need 360k - what is it for ?..... Rent ?

    Is someone taking a dive ?........... taxpayers ?

  4. I agree with Rigel's question - what is the money actually going to be used for? This Boxing Club has already milked local charities begging for funds (I know this for a fact). Is teaching youngsters that hitting each other is okay a good idea? I would like to see this money used for the benefit of all residents rather than a select few engaged in a dubious sport.

    1. Rigel / Martin, the answer is in the Minutes:

      By the way, I completely agree with all said on here. This stinks of money being diverted to benefit the council's Ageas Bowl project, rather than the general public good, as originally intended.

  5. If Keith House, Leader of EBC, said the money will be returned upon sale of the Ageas Bowl, why is that important commitment not recorded in the formal Minutes of this meeting?

    I hope Cllr Keith Day will raise this when the Minutes come up for approval. It is vital that House's commitment be recorded for posterity.

    1. It was disappointing not to see that proviso included in the minutes. I don't think I dreamt it. I plan to be at the next HEWEB meeting.

  6. why not record that in the minutes because they know they will never sell it? does EBC own the rose bowl or just the hotel ?