Bid to save Essex sports and social club

RESIDENTS are being rallied to protest against the sale of a sports and social club.The Squirrels, in Lower Marine Parade, Dovercourt, has been sold off by Tendring District Council.

By Annie Davidson

RESIDENTS are being rallied to protest against the sale of a sports and social club.

The Squirrels, in Lower Marine Parade, Dovercourt, has been sold off by Tendring District Council.

Now a petition has been launched and is being delivered throughout the area to gather residents' views about its sale to a property investor.


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Ben Howlett, group co-ordinator of SOS Save Our Squirrels, also urged local people to join a protest rally in support of the club.

Mr Howlett, whose great uncle used to run the Squirrels, said: “Tendring District Council has sold a key asset to the town and local people are up in arms about it.”

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He claimed residents were fed up with the council's “asset stripping” and said “it was time that money was not stolen from Dovercourt and spent on Frinton and Clacton”.

Mr Howlett, 20, of Harwich Road, Little Oakley, said he had delivered 3,000 leaflets to homes throughout the town, which contained a questionnaire.

People opposed to the sale can fill the form in and return it to Mr Howlett, who will then forward them all to district council leader Terry Allen.

SOS Save Our Squirrels posters have also been distributed around the town to businesses and homes.

Mr Howlett, an advisor and researcher for Harwich MP Douglas Carswell, said he feared the Squirrels would be made into flats and pledged to campaign against any such move and any other local amenities being sold off.

But Terry Allen, leader of Tendring District Council, yesterday strongly denied any other facilities were being sold off.

He said the Labour representatives from Harwich did not call the sports club sale decision in for scrutiny by the council.

And he added that the future use of the building was a matter for the club and its new owners.

The council, he said, had stipulated that it wanted the building to remain as a home for the club.

“We put so much consultation into this,” he said. “It was on the forward plan and we never had a problem.

“This is just sabre-rattling because an election is coming along. They should have brought up their concern before and not after.”

The protest rally will be held on September 19 at 6pm outside the Squirrels.

annie.davidson@eadt.co.uk

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