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Councillors vote against plan to bulldoze anglers' clubhouse
COUNCILLORS have voted against plans to demolish the harbourside clubhouse used by Weymouth Angling Society.
They recommended the club be offered a new 10-year lease for its Weymouth inner harbour site.
Anglers celebrated the outcome of the vote after the meeting but said the future of the club was not secure until a final decision was made at Weymouth and Portland Borough Council’s management committee next month.
Supporters of the club told the council’s harbour management board at yesterday’s meeting the demolition plans were ‘appalling’.
Around 30 supporters of the society attended the meeting, with around seven people speaking against the recommended proposal that the club is refused a new lease when the current deal expires in March 2014.
Under the proposal, the club house would be bulldozed and the land on the Commercial Road site would be used as a public car park with 18 spaces.
Councillors voted four to one in favour of keeping the club on the site.
Billy Short, chairman of the society, told the meeting the club house was used by multiple charities and organisations, including the Blind Society, the MS Society and the RSPB.
He said the club users spent around £20,000 a year on the car park.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Short said the battle to secure the future of the club would continue.
He said: “The meeting couldn’t have gone much better.
“We had so much support from so many people.
“We now need to keep that going. We won’t rest until we have the new lease in black and white.
“The battle isn’t over yet.”
A legal notice served by lawyers acting for the club means the council has to make a decision on the lease by November 11.
Committee chairman Dominic Lonsdale branded the situation ‘a complete shambles’.
He said: “We find ourselves dancing to the tune of the lawyers because of the process created by the section 26 notice.
“It’s a complete knee jerk reaction forced on us by the angling club lawyers.”
Councillor Peter Chapman said the council wished to redevelop the site. He said: “The inner harbour has been flagged as a redevelopment site.
“Money does play an important part in our deliberations. It pays for the services the council has to provide.”
Councillors voted on committee member Cmdr Anthony Holt’s amendment.
He said: “This committee moves to reject the proposal before it to remove the lease of the angling club and instead moves that the angling club is invited to accept a further lease for a period of 10 years on terms similar to the existing terms of rent.”
A final decision will be made at the council’s next management committee meeting which is on November 5.
Club supporters address key meeting
ANDY Hutchings, chairman of the Weymouth Area Senior Forum, said its 750 members relied upon using the club house.
“I consider that if we would not be able to use the angling club the future of our forum would be in serious doubt.”
Weymouth and Portland Mayor Ray Banham said creating car park spaces on the site would be ‘a false economy’. He added: “To even bring this to committee is appalling.”
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