Luton’s Co-op Sports and Social Club is rallying the community together, as it launches a petition to stop its closure.
Members were recently told by The Co-operative that the land the club leases from them is being put up for sale, claiming they have to hand the keys back by September 2019.
However, the Stockingstone Road club has a history dating back over 50 years, and as a lynchpin of the community, isn’t going down without a fight.
Paul Prince, chairman, claimed: “We’ve launched a petition which already has 1,500 signatures to show developers that our 800 club members want to be here - they may feel they could buy it and still have a little club.
“Everyone is gutted. Three generations of people have used this place - one gentleman joined in 1963.
“We get new members every day of the week, and it’s the kind of place where if you come along once, the next time you visit, people will remember your name.”
The club has darts, snooker, dominoes, pool and table tennis leagues, a hall to hire, four bands that use it as a practice venue, the WI, scouts, charity fundraisers, and occasions from parties and weddings to wakes.
Paul alleged: “The indoor bowls is supported by Sport England, so that’s the only thing the developers have to keep on the land, or relocate somewhere local. I also doubt residents of Stockingstone Road will want more houses built.”
A spokesman for the Co-op, said: “It has been the intention for there to be investment in the area following a break in the lease.
“Working with the local authority the sporting facilities are to be preserved in the community, and are reflected in the mixed-use development allocated in the local plan.”
The club - one of the few left in Luton - is holding a fun day on Sunday from 1pm until 5pm, and a petition is available to sign at the club.
See also change.org/p/office-gavinshukur-org-save-the-co-op-club