PLANS are pushing ahead for members of a historic social club to move into an alternative venue.
Hartlepool Rovers Quoit Club, based in Grainger Street, will set up home in the former Iona Club, in Easington Road, around August.
Committee bosses have revealed that David Loughrey, of town-based ASP Associates, has been appointed as the architect overseeing plans to overhaul the Iona ready for Rovers’ members to move into.
Now the contract to overhaul the Iona, just half-a-mile away from the 120-year-old quoit club, is out to tender, with work expected to start next month.
Peter Cavey, managing director of Hartlepool estate agents Greig Cavey Commercial, who is acting as an agent for the Rovers Quoit Club, said: “We had a meeting on Friday and it’s all systems go.
“We have appointed an architect and had drawings done and we have got planning permission through.
“The project is out to tenders at the moment with a view to hopefully start converting the Iona the first week in March.”
Mr Cavey said work would include a new pitched roof and the scheme is scheduled for completion in August.
He added the plan is that there will be a seamless transition for Rovers to carry on trading and honouring booked functions right up until the Iona opens.
“Hopefully the Rovers will close one day and relocate into the Iona the next,” he added.
“Everything is going to plan so far and everybody is very pleased about it.”
Club committee spokesman Alan Robinson said: “We are looking forward to a new challenge.
“It is going to be a wrench to move after all these years but our members are pretty upbeat.”
The new club will have improved disabled access, a lift, beer garden and a boundary fence.
The Iona had stood empty for nine months, having been put on the market in July.
The Mail previously reported that the quoit club had been threatened with a compulsory purchase order, along with several surrounding streets, as part of a regeneration scheme.
Club users had hit out at being included in the order, as Hartlepool Borough Council said the action was necessary to protect £5m of funding from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) for new houses.
But the dispute was settled before Christmas, when the club and council agreed a sale and decided to take over the Iona as an alternative venue.