April 23 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Ipswich council has denied that it is preparing to demolish the clubhouse at the Ransomes Sports and Social Club in Sidegate Avenue in Ipswich.
But the building is set to remain closed indefinitely and its future remains uncertain.
The borough-owned building came back into council management at the end of last year after a long legal wrangle with the club that had managed the sports ground and the social clubhouse for the previous 15 years.
However it was clear that the 1960s-built clubhouse had serious structural problems and after a survey in November it was immediately closed on safety grounds.
New temporary changing facilities have been brought in for the sports teams who use the ground – but those wanting to book the clubhouse have been offered space at other borough council facilities.
However when Richard Proctor tried to book a room at the clubhouse for a pensioners’ meeting in February he was told that the building was to be demolished.
“The person I spoke to said they would not be accepting any bookings until July 2015 at the earliest – and then only if they’ve got money from the lottery to build a new clubhouse,” he said.
He had been arranging meetings for pensioners from the old National Freight Corporation for many years.
“They’re going to demolish the building and I fear there will be no money to replace it – we’ll end up with more homes built there,” he said.
However Ipswich councillor with responsibility for leisure and culture Bryony Rudkin said no final decision had been taken on the future of the clubhouse.
“We are still carrying out detailed investigations into the state of the clubhouse. We had to close it at the end of last year because it was potentially dangerous.”
Temporary changing rooms had been brought to the site to give sports teams somewhere to prepare for matches – and those wanting to book the clubhouse had been offered space in the council’s other facilities around the town.
Mrs Rudkin said: “Very few of the bookings were from groups whose members are all based in the area around the sports ground.
“For instance the regular sequence dancing club who used to meet there have now gone to the Gainsborough Sports Centre and seem to be fine with that.”
The council is committed to maintaining sports facilities at Ransomes, and hopes to have more news about the future of the club later in the year.