After Kirk Hallam Social Club surrendered its alcohol licence this week, the hunt is now on to find ‘upstanding’ townsfolk to secure its future.
The club’s licence was suspended by Erewash Borough Council a fortnight ago after a string of violent incidents – the latest of which saw a drinker allegedly hit with a pool cue.
Now Paul Gaughan, acting on behalf of the club, and remaining trustee Brian Cook, plan to completely overhaul the club to secure its future as a ‘community asset’.
They plan to form a new committee made up of people with ‘good reputations’ who will in turn put in place a new management structure so that the ‘deep-seated’ problems that have plagued the club in recent years never return.
“We need somebody who has got an interest in their local community, someone who wants to put something back into the community, to promote this place for genuine community use,” said Mr Gaughan
“My response is to advertise for new trustees of local standing who are prepared to give up their time to take an active role in a management committee to take the club forward.
“We are seeking offers of help from either local business people, potentially a councillor, a retired policemen – people with a good reputation.”
Sgt Mark Lomas from Derbyshire police said: “Under the circumstances I am satisfied with the outcome.
“Unfortunately I would have preferred us not to have reached that point – I’d rather we have an open premises benefitting the community being run and managed properly.”
Kirk Hallam councillor John Frudd agreed that things needed to change: “I think it’s very important for Kirk Hallam but like a lot of these types of places, they need re-inventing.
“It needs to have an alcohol licence but it should be more of a community, family-related, events venue.
“Let’s get it out of the ‘70s and into the 21st century.”
The club, which has a 200-capacity function room – the biggest in Ilkeston – will continue to hold dance classes and other events but no alcohol can be sold unless the council approves a new premises licence.
When the club opened in the early 1970s, there was a committee of four trustees to run it. But over the years, they have either stepped down, left the area or died, leaving just 76-year-old Mr Cook.
Paul Gaughan offered to change licence holder, restrict opening hours and employ bouncers to preserve the club’s status, but police were still not happy.
“They investigated and found the club’s problems are a lot more deep-seated,” he said.
Police successfully applied to Erewash Borough Council to suspend the licence after a drinker was allegedly hit with a pool cue.
A 45-year-old man from Derby, is due to stand trial for assault in November.
The 100-or-so fee-paying members have been invited to a meeting at 7pm on Monday (August 19), along with anyone interested in joining a new committee, at the Dallimore Road club, to discuss its future.
Or call Mr Gaughan on 0115 9324010 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.