Sports club reaches agreement with St Neots Town Council to help it access vital funding

St Neots. St Neots.

Saturday, August 2, 2014
8:00 AM

A sports club has reached an agreement with St Neots Town Council for a long-term lease which will allow it to access vital funding.

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St Neots Table Tennis Club, which has a building on the site at Riversmead, has been granted a 99-year lease. It has cost £37,500, which the club has six months to raise, with a yearly peppercorn rent of £100.

The club had originally wanted to own the freehold of the site so it could obtain grants and raise funds to improve the premises.

From its opening in 1976 it was paying a peppercorn rent of £5 a year – but the deal expired in 2005. The new terms saw a dramatic increase in its rent – to £2,800 per year with a 25-year lease – which was reviewed every five years.

Despite owning the building, its agreement with the town council meant it was difficult to secure funding as most grants required a longer lease to meet their criteria.

Roger Howard, St Neots Table Tennis Club committee member, said: “It is the greatest news that the club has had for years. It has taken us a long time to get the council to agree to this. We won’t worry about having to go back to the council every five years. The club very much thanks the council for coming to a decision on it.”

He explained that the next step is to raise the money for the lease. Its upcoming projects include building a store room on the back of the club.

David Naylor, club treasurer, added: “I think the whole club will be pleased to know that it is going to go through. It was a result really – I think the council realised that they had to do something for us. It will give us a platform for the future.”

The deal was made possible after councillors designated the Riversmead area – but not the buildings – as a town green. At a meeting on Thursday (July 24), councillors voted 10 to two in favour of the plans which would protect the land.

The town green decision has now been passed to Cambridgeshire County Council for final approval, which should be a formality.

Ed Reilly, town clerk, said: “It is the best of both worlds – the council retains ownership of the asset and the table tennis club gets what it wants.”

Town councillor Barry Chapman added: “We have got a very successful and enthusiastic table tennis club and we wanted to support them. They should be able to get all sorts of funding that they couldn’t get because they hadn’t got the security.”

INFORMATION: If you can help with funds for the club’s lease, contact the centre on 01480 700161 or email info@stneotsttc.net. Alternatively, email lauren.nash@archant.co.uk to be put in touch with Mr Howard.

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