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Closed working men's club given glimmer of hope
Updated 9:54am Monday 3rd February 2014 in News
THERE could be light at the end of the tunnel for Evesham's historic working men's club after it closed last year amid money troubles.
The popular club in Merstow Green, which was established in 1879 and is housed in a building with parts dating back to the 17th century, was closed on Friday, October 25, after two crisis meetings were held with members.
Last week a further meeting was held with administrator Moore Stephens, where members were informed of the proposed voluntary liquidation arrangements.
But club treasurer Bill Keyte, who has been a member for 25 years, said despite the club losing thousands in recent years, there is still a chance it could re-open.
He said: "The club as a business has been losing money for the last four years. At every annual general meeting I have given it to the members straight, that the club is not going to survive but it fell on deaf ears.
"The club members own the freehold for the building. The biggest strain on the club was the back end, the Holland suite. It fell into disrepair.
"I put a proposition in three-and-half years ago to sell the back end of the building. We got advice and they said we needed to sell with planning permission.
"In a nutshell so much money wanted spending on it. The members rejected this proposition and it went on for another three years."
Since then Mr Keyte said the club has spent more £100,000 more than its income, forcing it to go ahead with his original proposition, with the backing of members.
"We now have the planning permission for the back end for demolition and six homes," he added. "But we are now in administration.
"It is still conceivable the members could elect to re-open the club. It could take 12 months to sell off the back end and release the capital. But when we get the money it will be the members decision what happens.
"Everything has been done by the letter of the law and we have followed due process."
Aline Cornish, who is a member of the women's darts team at the club, is heartened with the news.
"It sounds very positive," she said. "I had heard it was closing for good. It is a shame the big room has to go, it was such as asset, but it wasn't being used and there were a lot of problems. I am pleased that it could re-open in the future."