Ipswich: Marching orders for sports club

ONE of the best-known sports clubs in the town has been given six months to leave its home by its borough landlords.

But Ransomes Sports and Social Club is expected to take legal action after the council served a formal notice to quit yesterday.

The borough’s move was confirmed to The Star in a statement from Bryony Rudkin, the councillor responsible for leisure.

She said: “We want to save Ransomes for a variety of sports. That is why we have served a legal notice on the Ransomes Sports and Social Club.

“I want to stress that we are going to keep this council-owned facility open. We are not, I repeat not, going to close it. We are going to save it for sport.

“Unfortunately the club has not been managed well in recent years. Both the bowls green and the former county cricket square have been allowed to fall into disrepair or have not been maintained to the required standard and the table tennis club has left.

“We believe the club owes it to local people to ensure that a variety of sports, not just football, is available at the site.

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“We also believe that under the wing of the Council there is a better opportunity in the current economic climate to procure external funding to enhance and expand the facility.”

The borough bought the club, in Sidegate Lane, in 1994 after it was sold by Ransomes. The sports and social club was given a 15-year lease to continue to run it.

Since 2009 it has been run on an ad hoc basis by the club but earlier this year the council warned it was seeking major changes in the way it was run.

No one from Ransomes Sports and Social Club was available to comment but opposition leisure spokeswoman Judy Terry has been advising the club in its dispute with the council.

She said: “This move is very premature. There have been some very promising talks over the future of the club in recent weeks

“The club will be taking legal advice and I am sure they will be fighting this move. It is so wrong.”

n Is the council making the right move? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail starletters@archant.co.uk

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