On 12th November, the Committee and Trustees held its fifth combined meeting to discuss proposals for the development of the Club. This is a summary of the main issues.
As indicated in previous updates, the developer has asked the club if he may apply for outline planning permission on our behalf. We have now agreed to go down this route, and are setting up a meeting at which this decision will be conveyed. We reiterate that this is purely a measure to protect our interests in the light of pending changes to planning legislation, and it does not commit us to anything. The application will be funded by Martello but will be in the Club’s name.
In terms of the plans which have been on display within the Club, a number of concerns have been raised (in particular, in relation to unisex toilet facilities!). The architect has confirmed that changes can be made to accommodate our specific requirements, but that it is not expedient to do so at this stage (ie before outline planning permission has been granted).
There have been rumours circulating for some time about the possibility of the Club moving back to its original site. To date no firm offer has been made from the owners of The Smuggler, and the main stumbling block has been relocating the sea angling club winch in such circumstances. The owners have been in touch with the Club recently with a tentative proposal, which would involve leaving the winch and storage facilities in their current location. At the moment, this proposal is not one that we could put to the membership, as the accommodation at The Smuggler would be too small (far smaller than with the Martello proposal). We will continue to liaise with the owners and will advise members if a firm and acceptable offer is received.
We are still in the process of gathering information to properly inform any decisions on the future of the Club, and have formed a finance sub-committee for this purpose.
Analysis of recent annual accounts show that we are generally covering our costs and, whilst not awash with funds, the only immediate threat to our continued existence would be a major repair bill. We know that the roof does need significant work, but have been assured by Martello that they will fund this in the event of our rejecting their proposal.
Another issue of potential concern is the state of our cess pit. As those who attended the EGM will be aware, our main cess pit is sited on neighbouring land (that of Clonette, which has been purchased by Martello). We have legal right of access, but the facility is apparently in a very poor state of repair and the owners have the right to close it off in the event of their land becoming polluted. Whilst our toilets are connected to this cess pit, there are two further pits on our land. There is one serving the kitchen which overflows into a larger one, both of which are at the front of the building. Although on our site, there is a shared access arrangement with our neighbours. The specifics of these arrangements are a little confused, but we are commissioning a feasibility study which will aid our understanding of the issues and identify likely costs of required work.
To further our understanding of the condition of our Club, we are also commissioning a building condition survey, to identify any further financial liabilities.
We are also setting up a project to help us form a view on the feasibility of adding a second storey to the existing building. Although this is at a very early stage, the condition survey of the Club will provide impetus for the project.
We will continue to keep members informed of further developments.
The Committee and Trustees