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Weymouth Angling Society reaches for lifeline
ANGLERS who will attend a crunch meeting to determine the future of their club say they are disappointed a council report has recommended a short term lease renewal.
A decision on whether Weymouth Angling Society can continue leasing its club house in Commercial Road and for how long will be made at a meeting of Weymouth and Portland Borough Council’s Management Committee on Tuesday.
The original recommended council proposal for the council’s harbour management board was for the club to be refused a new lease when the current deal expires in March 2014 and the club house demolished to make a car park.
Officers do not recommend an adoption of the council’s harbour management board vote to renew the lease for 10 years, the report says.
Instead, officers recommend the short term lease renewal with ‘a redevelopment break clause’.
The inner harbour, which the club sits alongside, has been earmarked as a site for redevelopment by the borough council.
Phil Cheeseman, pictured, trustee of Weymouth Angling Society, said the club was ‘disappointed’ the recommended lease renewal wasn’t for longer.
He said: “We think the short term lease is unacceptable.
“We’re still disappointed that the officers are not prepared to offer us a ten year lease. We don’t want to be in this position again in three years’ time.
“We would be happy to be relocated as long as we are offered a long term lease.”
Officers say they don’t recommend the 10-year lease renewal the Harbour Management Board voted for because it would produce a rent ‘substantially less than the market value’ of the site.
The club currently leases the premises for a subsidised rent of £4,500 a year.
It has applied for a new lease with a rent of £5,500 per annum, less than the market rent, to reflect the social benefits it brings to Weymouth residents.
Mr Cheeseman said the club brings £2.4 million of trade to the borough a year through anglers using the club car park and various borough car parks and visiting anglers spending money in the town.
He said 29 different charities, organisations and teams also use the club house.
Many representatives from these groups say they will attend the council meeting on Tuesday in support of the angling society.
A petition calling for the club to stay on its site long term has attracted more than 2,000 signatures.
Pensioners put out
RAY Newman, chairman of the Westham Senior Citizens’ Club, helps organise a weekly social session for pensioners at the angling club. It has 42 members.
He said: “If we couldn’t meet here there’s nowhere else in the town which would be convenient.
“A lot of the members arrive on the buses which stop right outside.
“It would be a disaster if the club couldn’t stay on this site. It would finish us.”
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