Have you ever heard of the Bexley Heritage Trust? You should get to know
it because it is going to cost you a lot of money. The Trust looks after Hall Place and Danson House and is contracted by Bexley council to do so for another twenty odd years.
Everything is going down hill. The “increased significantly” claim is not supported by the figures. Trading income fell from £550,000 in 2011 to £300,000 in 2012 with only voluntary donations going in the opposite direction - up £47,000. The Trust is “aware of the major risks to which the charity is exposed”.
Despite income being down by 19% and costs up 11% the Trust’s report grabs at every straw. A “trend of decreasing income” and a “decrease in self generated income” is magically summarised as “self generated income has increased significantly”.
As taxpayers, let’s hope the optimism is well founded because Bexley council has just woken up to the fact that all is not well and look where the Trust plans to go with its begging bowl?
At this point I should be directing readers towards Bexley council’s report on the mill stone hanging around its neck, for there is one and it doesn’t make for happy reading. Or should I say it didn’t? For during the few days I spent studying it on line, Bexley council removed it from view and I’d failed to take a copy. Stupidly I didn’t consider a public body would do something as underhand as retrospectively censoring a report because it comprehensively damned their management skills.
Bexley’s overpaid bunch of financial numbskulls has sleep walked us into funding another money pit. It’s the Thames Innovation Centre all over again.
The Trust’s auditors aren’t over-joyed either.