Prior to Monday 14th March 2016, the proposition, with which the WRA SubCom were being confronted by Reignwood, was the following:-
- Termination of membership on 31st March 2017 with the option to re-apply to be considered by the Club thereafter for Full Membership only.
- Membership restricted to 800/900 applicants subject to payment of an onerous “debenture” (unsecured loan) for gross £100,000 for existing members and £125,000 for new members.
- No Tennis & Health membership.
- No Social & Spa membership.
A great deal of activity has been undertaken by various stakeholders (THE EXTENDED GROUP) including the Club Captain, the WRA, the WERC, the Trustees and the WHG as well as considerable consultations between individuals and the Club’s management.
Following constructive meetings last week with the Club’s owners and management (with the WRA SubCom and Club Capt), Reignwood announced the following notable changes to their proposition:
- Categories of membership
There will, in perpetuity, be continuity of 4 categories of membership available for all existing resident members:
- Tennis & Health.
- Social & Spa.
There will be no conditionality between existing resident membership and the purchase of a debenture, the purchase of which will now be optional.
Resident members who have left for good cause (under the belief that their membership would be debenture or excessive fee-linked) can (subject to status) rejoin without a rejoining fee or “debenture” purchase.
Residents applying for membership and/or “debentures” go to the top of the priority list.
- Optional Debenture Purchase – Residents, who wish to, can buy a debenture by either paying upfront or or paying a £20,000 deposit with the balance at the end of 3 years.
Residents will not be able to link the debenture to their homes, but will be given a legal agreement that allows the new owner to apply for membership.
This would remain an exclusive right only for residents of the Wentworth Estate.
Although we have covered considerable ground, there are still a number of elements to be addressed with the Club. These are:-
❖ Future Residents – We have requested the Club to extend fee-paying membership to all future residents – i.e. making a debenture purchase optional.
❖ Annual Fees – The annual fees for 2017/18 were announced this week. We consider the massive increases in fees are unreasonable. Further, the fee increases should be linked to the upgrading program and fees should only be increased by RPI in perpetuity. These latter points were agreed previously by the Club but seem to have now been forgotten.
❖ Resident Member (disturbance) discount – The Club has agreed to the principle of a discount on annual fees for Resident members. Negotiations continue here.
❖ Upgrade – We understood that £20 million for an upgrading plan has already been committed over the first 2 years although details remain sketchy. We have demanded that an investment committee is formed to review where and how this money is spent. The club has accepted it needs to be transparent in this process and two elected members of the residents’ committees will be co-opted.
❖ Debenture Discount – The club owners want to encourage residents to become debenture members in the future and have suggested a discount on their sales commission from 30% to 20% if the debenture is redeemed. We are not satisfied with this and seek a meaningful discount on the market price for all existing and future residents. As a resident, you may wish to check your title deeds for ‘special privileges’ agreements, or other rights of membership which may attach to your home.
We are gratified that the Club has registered the voices of the Extended Group and trust that the remaining, reasonable, requests will equally be accepted for Residents, the Club’s neighbours on the Estate.
The discussions with the Club are ongoing and it remains to be said that the final terms of any proposal made by the Club will be put forward for consideration by the ExCom of the WRA, and, of course, to you, the residents.
John Pyle (Chairman WRA SubCom)
For the WRA Sub-Committee