AMF rent explained

I REFER to the letter from Alan Rice, a councillor, published in the Herald on January 13, the contents of which are rather misleading to your readers.

He accuses the council of acting in a commercially irresponsible way by failing to review the rent paid by AMF Bowling for 20 years.

This may lead readers to ask why the rent was not reviewed by previous Liberal Democrat council administrations.

The answer is, of course, is that the rent required by current lease is at a fixed amount for a 21-year period, with no reviews built in.

Therefore, any increases during this period would have been in breach of the lease.

I am sure that no elected member of Worthing Borough Council wishes to see our popular bowling alley closed.

The council will do its very best to reach agreement for a new lease.

In these types of negotiations, it is not unusual for one party to suggest a high rent and the other a low rent as a starting point.

Finally, Mr Rice has offered his services to broker a deal between the council and AMF.

As Alan is no doubt aware, elected councillors are not permitted to enter into direct financial negotiations with third parties.

That could lead to claims of corruption.

The negotiations in this case will be dealt with by the council’s estates department in consultation with the relevant cabinet member.

Paul Yallop


Worthing Borough Council