MEMBERS of a defunct sports club are to get a long-awaited cash windfall.
The news follows the sale of the Britannia Sports complex at Salendine Nook.
Britannia Works Social and Sports Association went into voluntary liquidation almost seven years ago – although the organisation was not insolvent.
But a sale of its sports ground – which should have netted a cash bonanza for hundreds of members – fell through at that time due to a dispute over ownership of the site.
Now the property has finally been sold after the Land Registry agreed that the club had “good title” to the site off New Hey Road – and members of the club are finally entitled to a share of the proceeds.
Liquidator Peter Sargent, of corporate recovery firm Begbies Traynor, has appealed for anyone who believes they were a member of the club at the time of its liquidation to contact him.
He said: “We have completed a sale of the site having successfully demonstrated that the site was in the ownership of the club.
“We are now ready to distribute the monies from the sale and we are checking that we have all the members who are entitled to receive a share.
“Anyone who believes they are a member of the club should get in touch with us with full details of their name and address and their solicitor.”
The buyer has not been named and Mr Sargent declined to say how much the site had been sold for or how much club members would receive, but added: “We expect to complete the distribution within three months.”
He said the site had been listed as an asset in the club accounts, but ownership “had not been properly conveyed” to the company. As a result, a sale of the site had not been able to go ahead.
However, after years of work to establish the club’s right to claim ownership, partly based on its many years using the site, the Government’s Land Registry had agreed it belonged to the club.
Faced with rising costs and declining numbers of users, club members voted in a ballot in 2003 to close the club and sell the site – which had been its home for more than 70 years.
The club was owned and run by past and present employees of Hopkinsons, the Birkby valve company, which became part of the Glasgow-based Weir Group.
At the time of the crucial vote, fewer than half of the firm’s 400-strong workforce were sports and social club members, paying a weekly membership fee, while only a handful took part in activities at the club.
At its height, the complex provided a home to several football and cricket teams and hosted many local soccer finals and semi-finals.
It boasted a cricket pitch and two soccer pitches as well as a clubhouse with a licensed bar.
It was bought in 1934 for workers at Hopkinsons and over the years was used by thousands of employees for a variety of sports and pastimes.
Social clubs and groups based at the Birkby works used the facilities, but its use declined as the size of the workforce fell.
Mr Sargent said: “We will be pleased when we can complete the distribution.
“It has been a long drawn-out process over several years to persuade the Land Registry that the property belonged to the club, but we have finally been successful.”