A row has broken out over a historic Colne Valley club.
Tensions have become fraught between several groups involved with the Milnsbridge Socialist Club, due to the future of the building, confusion about its ownership, debts of £50,000 and unpaid loans to members.
Involved are the long-serving members of the Bankwell Road club, the secretary and the new lease-holders of the building, a co-operative group called the Red and Green Club.
The newcomers hope to buy the building to turn it into a new community and campaigning hub.
The problems started in 2010, when then new club secretary and Sheepridge councillor, Jean Calvert, discovered that the club had accrued large debts.
Despite setting up a limited company to help better the situation and the club being loaned two sums of £20,000 by two members and thousands more by others, three years later she proposed that it close and be sold after debts failed to clear.
A new board of trustees was established in August, with the aim of officially turning them into the club’s owners, to help determine its future.
One trustee, Phil Nicholas vented his frustration at the state of the club.
He said: “We want to know why it’s taken so long to make us owners as at the moment we can’t do anything with it until that process is complete.
“We also want to know what’s happened to the debts because even as a trustee I feel in the dark.
“We don’t feel we had a choice as to whether the club closed. We aren’t happy with how the situation is being dealt with.
“We just want our club back so that we can decide what we do with it in the future.”
One of the members who gave £20,000 to help the club, David Baxter, said: “We just want to know when we will get all of our money back: it’s an abuse of trust.”
Similarly confused is Paul Salveson, chairman of the Red and Green Club. The club pays £175 per month in rent and said that a valuation last year had priced the building at £80,000.
Mr Salveson said: “We registered the Red and Green Club and started using the building two years ago.
“We are looking after the building and making it good to use by the community and if we were able to buy the building we would get community shares so that should start work to improve it.
“One union, the TSSA has already offered us £40,000 and the RMT have promised to match this if we can secure the sale but we can’t put an offer in until the members are ratified.”
Meanwhile Clr Calvert maintains that as much as possible is being done to sort out the problems.
She said: “I think that every club gets into this situation when debts accrue. We had the meeting, we asked if anyone wanted to take over running it but no-one did.
“David Baxter gets the rent from the Red and Green Club but unfortunately there just isn’t any more to pay back the others yet.
“I’m working on getting all members ratified but it is taking a while to get responses from some of them. I hope we’ll be able to complete it early next year so we can move forward.”