Send us news by text, start your message Star News and your send photos and videos to 80360
Glimmer of hope for Eccleston Social Club
11:00am Thursday 11th October 2012 in News
CAMPAIGNERS are hopeful of making a breakthrough in their fight to save a popular social club after holding talks with a housebuilder which has bought it.
The Eccleston Social Club, also known as ‘Triplex’, is in line to be axed on November 16 after Jones Homes struck a deal to buy the site as vacant possession from landowners Pilkington.
But an action group opposed to the closure by Pilks subsidiary Ruskin Leisure have been offered a glimmer of hope after pleading with the housing firm to keep the club alive.
The group was heartened this week after Jones Homes chiefs agreed to open lines of communication and invited them to their Cheshire headquarters for talks about the venue’s future.
A spokesman for the Eccleston Social Club Action Committee, which claims to have more than 1,000 supporters, said: “I’m pleased to say we are involved in meaningful discussions with Jones Homes regarding the club’s future.
“A delegation from the group along with Councillor Teresa Simms were invited to the headquarters of Emerson Group (parent company of Jones Homes) in Alderley Edge.
“The talks appear to have been productive, we are pleased they have engaged with us and look forward to seeing how things develop.”
A spokesperson for Jones Homes told the Star: “In light of Ruskin Leisure’s decision to close Eccleston Social Club on November 16, Jones Homes has always promised to work with local groups and the Council to determine the future use of the building.
“We have been in regular contact with the Eccleston Social Club action group in recent weeks and today (Tuesday 9 October) held a fruitful meeting with members. The action group are to prepare a business plan regarding the future of Eccleston Social Club for Jones Homes’ consideration.
“In the past 12 months Jones Homes has made a major development investment in the borough and we are keen to take an active part in the St Helens community, particularly in Eccleston. We very much look forward to receiving the business plan from the action group.”
The action group plans to draw up detailed proposals about how the club could continue to function before further discussions take place about the venue’s viability for the short and long term.
Jones had agreed to refurbish the club as a condition of securing planning permission to build 262 houses on surrounding land last year.
But because Pilkington is axing the club, Jones is within its rights to buy the vacant site and does not have to upgrade it.
However the action group believe Jones Homes could yet be portrayed as the “saviour”.