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Wrangle threatens rugby club funding

PUBLISHED: 01:15 11 April 2009 | UPDATED: 08:54 06 July 2010

Chiefs at a rugby club in Waveney have warned they are in danger of losing out on a £30,000 grant from a sporting body because of a stalemate between councils over the lease of its home ground.

Chiefs at a rugby club in Waveney have warned they are in danger of losing out on a £30,000 grant from a sporting body because of a stalemate between councils over the lease of its home ground.

Now the president of Beccles Rugby Club is urging the councils to act before the promise of the cash windfall is withdrawn.

The club leases Beef Meadow from Waveney District Council, which in turn leases it from Beccles Town Council.

The town's clerk said that members and solicitors for both councils came to a new agreement at a meeting in October, except for a few minor points.

But rugby club president Nick Beese said he was still waiting for an answer, although he started talks a year ago over the club's new agreement. He said the funding from the Rugby Football Union and Eastern Counties Rugby to improve facilities was dependent on the

club securing a lease for its

pitches.

“The window for this funding is

not going to last for ever,” he

said. “We are not going cap in

hand to the council, we are

not asking for a penny. We are

just trying to secure a lease.”

He added: “The clock's ticking

for us and we could lose this funding.”

Mr Beese said the money would be used to sort out drainage problems which cause the pitches to waterlog, and to improve the facilities at the club, which has more than 300 members and includes a big junior section and a new ladies' team.

He added: “Surely a year is enough time to sort out legal issues? Once the head lease is signed we can sort out sub-leasing.”

Town councillor Stephanie Bubb said: “It's a thriving club. If you go down on a Sunday it's packed out with juniors. Any way that this could be sorted would be brilliant.”

A spokesman for Waveney District Council said that it was in the process of negotiating a head lease with Beccles Town Council, which when agreed, would mean it would take on the sports pavilion as a whole.

She added: “Until that process is complete, we are unable to enter in to a sub-lease with Beccles Rugby Club.

“Revised terms were agreed in October, but certain clauses in subsequent drafts of the lease have raised issues of financial risk to the authority which we are still trying to address and settle.

“While we understand the rugby club's frustration, we cannot accept the head lease on its current terms as we believe we are being asked to undertake onerous obligations, particularly as to repair.

“The town council are currently in possession of our response and should they instruct their lawyers to meet with us, we would be happy to attend to move this agreement forward.”

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