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Reply To: The Horizon Project

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Some broadly supportive thoughts after catching up with the Monday presentation. (Subject to refinement as further detail is shared in the coming months.)

1. Agree with proposals for mitigating member tensions. The devil may well be in the detail but in principle they are sensible and balanced.
2. Also agree with proposals for membership, with proviso that I confess to having reservations about continuing, unqualified, the right for family members to become members. I like the that principle but it creates an entirely “closed” group of families who will be members ad infinitum, which seems contrary to any diversity goal and appears to produce unsustainable growth in club numbers. However, the views of the members on this point seem to be clear, and conclusive.
3. For estates, we owe it to future generations to maintain and improve the fabric of the club; we appear to have failed in that obligation, somewhat, over the past ten years. I would support a blend of moderate and comprehensive, achieved over ten years. Starting with the north wing seems sensible, with knock-on (but limited) west wing improvements before moving to the east wing, where I would (see below) accept the financing consequences of losing some events income in order to liberate the east wing to a greater extent for the membership. The identified proposals and priorities seem sensible to me, with the possible exception of a second indoor pool; can’t we maintain the expanded use fo the outdoor pool which we’ve seen during the pandemic, to give us two year-round pools? (But this is just a question, not a strong objection; I swim regularly and so would be happy personally to see another pool.) The “smaller projects” all look convincing, with the possible exception (for me personally) of the rose court conservatory; I’d like to see more detail about that before giving a view, because the conservatory feels like a part of the core inheritance. I entirely agree that the detailed execution of all capex and other actions should be driven (and if need be limited, and/or made more expensive) by sustainability considerations; it feels like there is still quite a lot of low-hanging fruit there.
4. For finances, I support the proposals including a 10% one-off subscription increase. Admitting OP members to full membership seems to be required as a matter of basic fairness, as well as being attractive/necessary financially. (As noted, it’s surely odd that the current rules exclude “off peak” members during three summer months, whilst allowing guests of “full” members to take their places.) The one-off increase would right a failure in recent years to match inflation, and RPI going forward would lock in that basic financial prudence, which would allow us to achieve the “estates” goals, above.