New twist in bid to save Gladiator club

Witney Gazette: Colin Burden, left, Jane Casey and Brian Richards outside the club Colin Burden, left, Jane Casey and Brian Richards outside the club

MEMBERS of a social club have delayed its sale by at least six months by bidding to use it for the community.

It was announced in September that the Gladiator Club, on Iffley Road, was being put up for sale by the owners, Christian charity the Gladiator Trust.

But the following month, Oxford City Council recommended that a bid for community asset status for the site be accepted.

The trust wants to sell the site for development and has put it on the market for £1.25m.

But by now registering an interest in the Gladiator Club, the social club committee – using the company name Gladiator Club Limited – postponed any sale of the building for a further six months, until May 5.

It means members have six months to try to make a bid for the site – and, under Government rules, the owners cannot sell it during that period.

The Sweet Memories Club, which has been running there for 13 years, fears it will have to close if the club is sold.

Organiser Christine Burden, 67, of Meadows Lane, said: “We have got six months now to try to find enough money to be able to buy it.

“It is going to be hard for us but we are going to put in requests for grants and hold events to raise the money.

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“The last week has been quite stressful, trying to get it all organised, but we got there in the end.

“We are going to have a bit of a break over Christmas but in the New Year we are really trying to get everything going.”

Club secretary Jane Casey said this gave the group a bit of breathing space.

She said: “There is a sense of relief, and it does give us a bit of breathing room to do the fundraising and get people aware of what we need to do.

“We are still puzzled as to why it has been put up for sale as we are a thriving club and we are not struggling at all.”

The trust says it could do better Christian work in the community by selling the site, rather than trying to maintain its decaying buildings.

Last month, the trust requested the council launch a review into the decision to list the East Oxford social club as an asset of community value. A decision was due this week.

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