CTC vicechair wades into Latarche row

Brian Morris, the CTC's vicechair and chair of the CTC's finance committee, has stepped into the fierce debate raging on the Audax UK mailing list. He confirms planning permission has been sought for the CTC HQ which is situated in "one of the most expensive property areas in the south east so that the CTC, being a not-for-profit company, has great difficulty in recruiting and retaining suitably qualified staff." However, his intervention fails to placate some members of the mailing list who are still smarting after CTC chair Peter Letarche slammed the list last week...
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Brian Morris is an Audax UK member and its press secretary from 1992 to 1996. He has been a CTC councillor from 1997 and since January 2001 has been chair of the CTC's finance committee. He is therefore well placed to combat what he feels is "wilful ignorance" of the work of CTC.

In a statement to the Audax UK mailing group he said:

"The CTC is not a Charity. It is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee. The CTC’s site in Godalming is not for sale. On behalf of the CTC, as a volunteer with a background in property, I am charged to try to secure a satisfactory planning permission for housing on the site to establish a site asset value.

"When the CTC moved to Godalming 1966 the area must have seemed a quiet backwater after London. It is now one of the most expensive property areas in the south east so that the CTC, being a not-for-profit company, has great difficulty in recruiting and retaining suitably qualified staff. At some time in the future the organisation may decide to move but no decision has been made."

He rebuts the allegation that CTC finances have been run down and are now dangerously depleted:

"As chairman of the CTC’s finance and operations committee since the beginning of this year I am satisfied that the organisation’s finances are sound."

He chastised readers of the Audax list to do more for cycling, rather than backbite from the sidelines:

"We do not become CTC councillors for the good of our health but if any of the expert contributors to the debate wish to put something back into cycling instead of just taking, please consider standing for election to the CTC’s council. No organisation can be managed by a committee of 54 000 members. The CTC has a democratic election procedure to establish a governing council. So stop whinging, get off your bikes for a time, and let the CTC have the benefit of your wisdom around the council table."

Morris believes the CTC kerfuffle is unhelpful:

"How does all of this help cycling when the CTC is the only show in town working for all cyclists in the UK and promoting cycling for future leisure cyclists, commuting cyclists, touring cyclists and even niche audax cyclists?"

But Audax UK readers believe Latarche threw petrol on the flames and that's why the debate has been so heated.

Norman Simmonds believes Latarche is guilty of "whinging" and the CTC has a them-and-us attitude problem:

"What is it with the CTC, do all of their elected officers have manners to

match their political skills?

"How many times do they have to be told that you don't win any hearts and

minds by starting off insulting people, however good your following points

may be.

"I don't know whether or not the CTC has a policy on communications training,

but if they do it's apparent that not everyone is benefiting from it."

And Audax UK member Andy Clarkson said:

"That the CTC is failing to communicate its direction, strategy and that this debate is surrounded by ignorance should worry [Morris] not appal [him]. If the council and officers are doing a great job they are obviously failing very badly at communicating this.

"Redundancies and outsourcing are hardly signs of an organisation on the rails.

"The CTC is not the only show in town, but it has thus far been the only one that has not torn itself apart with petty arguments and discord. The BCF can only benefit from all this but the fact that the CTC has let the situation develop where [the BCF] can even be considered a viable alternative beggars belief.

"[All of the Audax UK mailing list emails to date] express concern, a desire to leave the CTC and a feeling that the management isn't what it should be."

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