Dorchester’s Conservative Club has been forced to cease trading.

The Association of Conservative Clubs (ACC) took the decision to call time on the club as it considered it was no longer financially viable.

The South Walks venue was put up for sale last summer after running up debts of £142,000.

A new committee was appointed to take over the running of the club and, with no sale yet agreed, was working tirelessly to keep it afloat.

However, chairman Les Cuff has hit out at members who failed to support the club in its hour of need.

He said: “It’s the members fault because they wouldn’t support it.

“The whole idea is if you don’t use it you lose it.

“If you don’t get the support you can’t keep going.

“I just wished we could have kept it going but without the proper help and support there was no way we could have done it.

“We didn’t want to close but the ACC said enough was enough, they thought it wasn’t financially viable.”

Mr Cuff said the club, which has around 400 members, had been proving quite popular in the day but in the evening trade was poor.

He said that the debt inherited by the club had also not helped and, although the new committee was making progress in reducing the arrears, the fact the club still hadn’t been sold had meant they were unable to look for new premises.

Mr Cuff said: “If we had sold up earlier on we would have still been going.”

Mr Cuff praised the efforts of the committee, who had done all they could to try and keep the club going.

He said: “We have worked hard and put ourselves out beyond the call of duty.”

Mr Cuff did give some hope for a future club, saying that if the current premises are sold for a decent price and funds are available for new, smaller premises it could be revived.

He said: “In the future if smaller premises came on the market and we can afford to it then we will probably open up again.”

When the club’s debts were revealed last summer, the ACC was appointed trustees of the club and is overseeing the sale of the premises.

A spokesman for the ACC said: “The Dorchester Club has ceased trading and a buyer is still being sought.”