Most of you will be aware that we held an EGM last Sunday to discuss the proposal from Martello Developments in respect of our Club. Chris Paine from Martello Developments and architect Rob Pollard (RX Architects) outlined the proposal. This essentially involves the construction of a new, two-storey Clubhouse in exchange for (roughly) half of our current site.
160 members attended the EGM. For those who were not able to attend, we have placed minutes from the meeting under the new “Club Development Proposal” section of the Club website. Whilst, as per our previous memo, no binding vote was taken, an indicative show of hands was taken to assess the mood. Around a third of attendees did not show a preference either way whilst, of the remainder, there was a very small majority in favour of progressing the proposal.
The view of the Committee is that there is insufficient information at this time to properly inform any decision. Accordingly, we will be holding further meetings with the developer and architect, to establish whether the identified limitations of the draft plans (discussed at the meeting) can be sufficiently addressed to meet our needs. Further, we are seeking to validate the information contained in the plans. We have also set up a sub-committee to examine the financial costs of staying where we are (including ongoing maintenance requirements), likely future repair costs of a two-storey building, and any other options.
We stress that no decision has yet been made. When we have sufficient information we will refer the matter back to the membership. In the meantime, the developer has made an offer to submit an application for outline planning permission. We are considering whether to accept this offer in order to protect our interests, as planning regulations are set to change. If planning permission is granted now, we can progress this application later. The application would be only for outline planning permission, and would be made in the Club’s (rather than the developer’s) name.
Should the proposal ultimately be accepted, it is inevitable that the Club would have to close for between 10-12 months. There would be costs associated with closure which the Club may not be able to fund – which is an additional complication. Deadlines are now extremely tight, so we have little time available to assemble the additional information which we need to put to the membership. It was most reassuring that a number of individuals came forward after the EGM to offer help; if any other members can offer expertise (particularly in terms of legal input; but also if you have financial, engineering or licensed trade knowledge) we would be very happy to hear from you.
Finally, some members expressed the view that Sunday is not a convenient time to hold a meeting. We are mindful, however, that many more members cannot make a midweek date, and it is for this reason that AGMs are routinely held on a Sunday. Accordingly, it is likely that any future meetings will also be held on this day. We repeat our commitment to keep all members informed of key developments.
The Committee and Trustees