Subdury club’s future up in the air

A SOCIAL club stripped of its premises licence and under the threat of closure faces an agonising wait to discovering its long-term future.

Northcroft Social Club in Sudbury had its club premises certificate withdrawn by Babergh District Council in May.

The action followed a series of breaches of its licence, including:

l Admitting non-members

l Advertising events on the internet

l Excessive noise.

On Monday, the 210-member club applied to the district council for a new certificate, claiming it had addressed the problems and was ready for a fresh start under the leadership of a new chairman.

However, James Buckingham, the council’s environmental officer, said he was “dismayed” that the club’s committee – under which so many difficulties had been encountered – remained relatively unchanged.

“I have no confidence whatsoever in the previous management committee and, apart from the appointment of a new chairman, it is the same,” he said.

Residents living near the club contacted the council with a string of complaints regarding the way it had been run.

One claimed the noise from the club forced him to sleep on a camp bed in his bathroom to escape loud music at least once a week, while Richard Mower, from Croft Road, said the venue had a “dramatic and unwelcome” impact on the lives of its neighbours.

“Almost every Friday and Saturday night see us battening down the hatches and preparing for the blitz,” he said.

“The committee is incompetent and not fit to be responsible for the successful running of a club.”

Eddie Brown, who took over from previous chairman Martin Kibble last month, admitted there had been numerous failings with reference to admitting non-members, but promised things could be turned around.

“We want to get back to the old values and take the club forward as a proper club,” he said.

“Time is of the essence for Northcroft Social Club and we need to get the doors open.

“A delay of a month could see the demise of this 90-year-old club.”

Mr Brown said a number of the club’s rules had been restructured, but licensing sub-committee chairman Peter Holbrook said more evidence that these had been adopted was needed.

“The application is premature,” said Mr Holbrook before adjourning the hearing until October 4.

Following the meeting Mr Brown said the club’s committee and members were disappointed a decision had not been arrived at.

“The delay means we will have to work harder after October 4 to revitalise the club,” he said.

“It is a possibility the club could close, but we have had promises from club members that they will not allow that to happen.

“The aim is to appear here on October 4 and get a new premises licence.”

q An emergency general meeting is to be held at the club on September 16 at 11am.