Social club saved from closure

Jim Eskdale at the Royal British Legion Club Leyland
Jim Eskdale at the Royal British Legion Club Leyland
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The future of a struggling social club has been secured.

The Royal British Legion on School Lane, Leyland, was threatened with closure after building up £140,000 of debts.

A plan has now been agreed which will secure its future, to the delight of members.

At a meeting of South Ribble Council’s planning committee on Wednesday, members unanimously voted to give the green light to plans to see the club house reduced in size and seven homes and a corner shop built on the site.

Car parking spaces will also be reduced from 43 to 25 under the outline plans.

Some concerns were raised by residents including one resident of Balshaw Road, who said he was worried about the impact the plans would have on nearby shops.

He said: “I worry about shops like the one on Bannister Drive, and whether we need another shop in the area. Why should they dictate they need another shop, which would probably have an effect on other businesses?”

Doubts were also raised about whether a reduction in the size of the club’s bowling green would mean it could no longer be used for competitive matches.

Coun Fred Heyworth, who is also chairman of Leyland and District Bowling League, said: “ I was led to understand the green would be untouched.

“I have almost a lifetime of crown green bowling behind me and I have severe doubts whether it could remain as a competitive bowling green if it was made shorter.”

Financial company Minotaur were called in with the club on the brink of closure and helped members pull together the plans.

Michael Foster, from the company, said: “We are not taking over the running of the club and don’t want to close it down at all. We want to save the club.

“Regeneration is centred around the club and the bowling green, both of which are being kept. This will allow the club to pay off debts and save its future.”

Coun Graham Walton, who sits on the planning committee, said: “I think this is a fine application for a fine club. It’s a marvellous opportunity for this branch that was struggling financially to get themselves back on their feet.”