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Club closure threat blow

By Staf Newsletter  |  Posted: April 05, 2012

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A POPULAR and thriving social club in Doxey is facing the axe in what angry community members say is just the latest nail in the coffin for the community and the start of an “annus horriblis”.

The Universal Club in Doxey Road has been slapped with a notice from Redrow Homes, saying it will not renew the club’s contract in January 2013 but says it will help the club “relocate”.

It is a devastating blow for the area as the club is the last licensed premises and meeting place left and also has a thriving bowling club and other sports teams.

And it comes in the wake of the closure of Doxey’s two pubs and Chinese takeaway and threats to its football pitch.

Doxey Community Association members say 2012 - supposedly a year of celebration with the Olympics and Jubilee - has so far been anything but.

Universal members are desperate to save the site and want to negotiate a deal with Redrow Homes, which owns the land and is building 145 houses nearby. They have recruited Stafford MP Jeremy Lefroy to help.

Paul Johnson, from the Universal Club, said: “Everything else has gone and this is the last place left. It is the hub of the community and is used for weddings and Christenings. The club has been here for around 70 years, there is a thriving bowling team which uses the greens here.

“We would like to purchase the building or rent it from them.” David Adams, vice-chairman of Doxey Parish Council, said: “The parish council has pledged its support to the club. If it goes it will be yet another amenity disappearing, the only place left for people to socialise.” Mr Lefroy told the Newsletter he was supporting the club and would meet with Redrow to see if anything could be done to protect its future.

“It is in their interests for there to be a community place for people to meet as they are building homes in the area. It is a real concern.” Matthew Pratt, managing director for Redrow Homes (Midlands), said the company bought the development site in 2009 and it included premises licensed to the Universal Sports Club.

He said: “I wrote to the club in November 2011 to confirm that the agreed licence period between both parties expires in January 2013. We have given the club as much notice as possible and considerably longer than the legal requirement. The only communication we have received from the club on the matter has been via its solicitor.

Although we have not met with the club’s solicitor, we have spoken with Jeremy Lefroy MP explaining that if the club needs support in relocating we would be happy to help.”

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