FIFTY houses could be built on playing fields in Tiddington in order to stop the Home Guard Club closing after 70 years.
The club on Main Street—which has around 450 members and accommodates Wellesbourne Rugby Club as well as 11 junior football teams, an archery club, and three cyclists groups—needs money to stay alive.
Club president Graham Fletcher said: “We need to raise some capital or we won’t exist in five years’ time.”
Cala Homes plan to knock down the clubhouse and build 50 homes on the fields nearest the road. The clubhouse will then be rebuilt near the running track and three of the junior sports pitches behind the new homes will remain untouched.
Mr Fletcher said: “Their proposals for the sporting side are unbelievable, they’re brilliant.”
He said the club needed to sell three or four acres of the 12-acre site.
“Doing nothing is not an option,” he said. “My job as a trustee and as the president is purely the survival of the Home Guard Club. We have done 70 years of trading, and I’m not prepared to stand by and let it go down the pan, I’ll do whatever it takes to keep it going.”
However, the plan to build 50 new homes has been met with objections from some, and a rival bid has been made.
Bob Bessell, chairman of Retirement Security Ltd, which owns the retirement homes next door to the club at Margaret Court, has offered to relocate the Home Guard Club, the neighbouring community centre and the Scout hut, so he can put 17 retirement bungalows on the existing land. And he’s offered to give the Home Guard Club £100,000.
“I think there may be considerable opposition in the village to the Cala scheme,” he said. “We wanted to show there was an alternative. We wouldn’t be building on the fields and we would provide the funds for spanking new buildings.”
Tonight (Thursday), there is a public presentation of his plan at the Tiddington Community Centre.
Rob Cobley, chair of the centre, said: “I think the feeling would be 50 houses would be appalling.”
Concerned for the local roads and schools, he said: “It’s the same as any development in this area, there just isn’t the infrastructure. Whereas Margaret Court would generate additional local business.”
Mr Fletcher said: “If we have to close then there will be 12 acres with around 1,500 houses on.”
He said the amount Mr Bessell had offered for the land was not enough: “It won’t work. What he is offering, frankly, we may have a new building, but we won’t be able to trade.”
After meeting with Mr Bessell a year ago, the Home Guard Club rejected his proposals at its AGM.
Mr Fletcher said: “They’re not prepared to come up with the value of the land, so it is unlikely if the alternative plan will be accepted.”
Mr Bessell responded: “Obviously they are interested in getting as much money as they can, but I think my concern, and the villagers concern, is that it involves building on the sports field.”
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