Mark Carney scraps Bank of Englands country club despite outrage when he

Mark Carney, left, attended the Wimbledon Men’s semi-final between Roger Federer and Milos Raonic in 2016, alongside Jude Law and Phillipa CoanCredit:Shaun Botterill/Getty Images Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. First Mark Carney went for the Bank of England’s annual cricket match at the staff summer party, replacing it with rounders, football and tug of war.Now, in his final year as Governor, he has scrapped the entire sports facility – a sprawling 32 acre “country club” close to Richmond Park, boasting a gym, 16 tennis courts, world class football and rugby pitches and “relaxation facilities”.In a drive towards greater inclusivity, and to cut costs, the Bank will close its Roehampton “club”, owned since 1907, and lease the site on a commercial basis, cancelling all current memberships.The move has irked employees, who are “saddened” at the loss of such a luxurious company benefit.David Buik, a veteran businessman and financial commentator who was a member of the club for five years said: “The facilities are simply incredible and I am sure that people of my generation will be extremely saddened.” “But you have to look at the balance sheet and the fact that younger people are playing their sport more locally. Now, they don’t want to schlep out to Roehampton, where in years gone by, people would.“It is now an anachronism.”One Bank employee, who did not want to be named, said that he was not surprised at the decision.“They have been talking about it for ages because it is seen as a relic of the past. Very few people use it and I don’t see why we have it.”Figures show that only 13% of staff are members of the sports club, but many more have a pass to the company gym in Threadneedle Street.Labour MP Chris Evans described the Roehampton site as “a very expensive country club that belongs to another era.”  In January, Joanna Place, the Bank’s Chief Operating Officer told MPs at the Public Accounts Committee: “If we were starting with a blank canvas now, we would not think that we need to build a physical sports centre and it needs to be in Roehampton.“This is obviously historical,” said Ms Place, “so we now need to think what is best for the wellbeing of our staff, which is important.”Today, the Bank said: “There will be a new ‘Sports and Social Club’ which will give all current Bank colleagues the opportunity to access a broader range of sports and social activities, irrespective of where they may live. This fits with the Bank’s broader diversity, inclusion and wellbeing agenda.”They could not however, give specifics on what form this new club may take. The Bank of England’s Sports Club has been a company asset for more than 100 years and boasts tennis courts, sports pitches and a The closure of the Roehampton site comes just four years after Mr Carney replaced its annual summer cricket match with the less “exclusive” sports of rounders and football.The move was branded “outrageous” by commentators at the time.Carney’s predecessor Mervyn King was a cricket fanatic and played in the annual match up to his retirement in 2013, but a spokesperson insisted: “The governor has not banned cricket. He wanted the activities at governors’ day to be chosen by staff for staff and their families. Staff chose a number of sports, such as rounders, football and tug of war, among others.”Today, they said: “The Bank is adjusting its wellbeing offer to improve both the accessibility of the offer to Bank colleagues and to ensure value for money.  As part of this the Bank has decided to close its Sports Centre in Roehampton.“While the Sports Centre at Roehampton has been an important part of our health and wellbeing offer, its membership and use is in decline. It was also important to consider how the Roehampton site fits with the Bank’s overall responsibilities and objectives, including value for money.  “The Bank will be entering into commercial negotiations surrounding the lease shortly, but access to the Sports Centre will be unaffected for the next 12 months.” Bank of England Sports Club, Roehampton, London. Mark Carney, Jude Law and Phillipa Coan watch on as Roger Federer of Switzerland plays Milos Raonic of Canada in the Men's Singles Semi Final match at Wimbledon in 2016 read more

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