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Reply To: Horizon Project

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This is just to confirm that each individual project within any programme that members may approve will be decided on, in sequence, over a period of 10 years+. At each step, we can review whether the Club’s needs and finances are developing as anticipated, and incorporate experience from implementing the previous projects. It does not seem plausible that the programme will bankrupt the club, because projects will be committed to only after members have voted to increase subscriptions, if that is needed to fund them. It is correct to say that some of the potential choices will increase subscriptions.

Why then do we ask members to consider now different programmes for the next1–20 years? The reasons to think about a 10-20 year programme as we are doing are several :

1. the configuration of each building depends, in part, on what we will do in the other buildings
2. It takes a long time to create capacity that members may want; for example, we can anticipate our changing member numbers and demographics with some confidence, and we have the opportunity, if we wish, to create facilities that will be ready when they are needed; if we only react to problems when they are manifest, we will be 3-5 years behind where we could be
3. We must be thoughtful and coherent in how we use such planning permission flexibility as we may have
4. We need to bring in cash in advance of committing to building projects, to avoid financial risks.

There are real choices to be made, and there is an option for minimal as well as more extensive (and expensive) renewal of our facilities. Each path will have different impacts on the extent and quality of services that are provided and on subscriptions.

Unfortunately, what is not on offer is the possibility to keep things exactly as they are: with current membership policies we face steady increases in member numbers and, for example, a very fast increase in the number of child members – an 80% increase first in under 10s, then in teenagers, if our members in their thirties bring their children into the club at the same rate as our members in their 40s have done! Similarly, we can predict ageing of older members and that, too, is leading to changes in club usage.

It is certainly a viable choice to handle these changes within the constraints of existing facilities (which would be properly maintained), bu that does mean members would have to accept more crowding and the greater use of reservation systems, restricted access and so on. However, they would benefit from lower subscriptions and less construction disruption. Our task is to find out which path members would prefer, from several that we have identified that are all viable and none of which will be allowed to threaten bankruptcy of the club.