No progress for fire-hit cricketers

Ged Canavan with fellow Peterlee Cricket and Social Club members
Ged Canavan with fellow Peterlee Cricket and Social Club members

MEMBERS of a fire-damaged cricket club are still waiting for the building to be rebuilt – almost a year after it went up in flames.

Peterlee Cricket and Social Club committee bosses are still waiting for answers from Peterlee Town Council 12 months after the local authority-run club was hit by fire.

Committee members are accusing the council of having “no intention” of re-opening the building, and claim civic leaders want to use the insurance money from the blaze instead.

The Mail reported in December last year that the committee were dismayed at what was then a four-month delay in moving forward.

The Helford Road-based club has had to lay off one member of staff and give two others quarterly payments, while a fourth has found a new job.

Members are accusing the town council of “moving the goalposts” claiming they have repeatedly been asked for documents, including members’ lists – some of which cannot be supplied for data protection reasons – and a business plan even though it has been operating as a business for around 40 years.

They believe the town council wants the cricket club to close as they see it as competition for the newer council-built Helford Road Pavilion nearby.

Chairman of the management committee and trustee Ged Canavan said: “My worry is Peterlee Town Council is wanting to close our building and use the insurance money for other things.

“I think we have been extremely reasonable and extremely patient hoping that the town council was a reasonable local authority who would deal with us fairly. It’s been nearly a year since the fire, and there has been no progress made whatsoever.”

Mr Canavan added that the committee could no longer afford legal representation for any proceedings, even though he claimed the town council would not discuss the way forward without a solicitor.

Mr Canavan added: “We have ongoing costs, and no income whatsoever.

“We have lost £100,000 revenue and if it goes on much longer we probably won’t be able to afford our outgoings.

“We have been given absolutely nothing – no timetable of when they are going to build or any plans or structural reports we could have a look at.

“We have been excluded completely.”

Club secretary Andrew Hanley said: “The council seems to be staving off any sort of contact with us. They seem to be trying to drive us down to a point where we can’t survive any more.

“All we want to do is get our club back up and running.”

He added he was overwhelmed that more than 30 people turned up to a recent council meeting to show their support for the club.

Town council leader Bill Jeffrey did not wish to comment on the club’s claims.