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Conservative Club in Blackburn fights sale to Islamic centre
A 120-YEAR-OLD Conservative Club in Blackburn is fighting for its future after plans for it to close and be reopened as an Islamic learning centre emerged.
Members of the Intack and Knuzden club, in Accrington Road, say they are prepared to raise money to buy out the building, which has been the club’s base since 1892.
Secretary Mike Woods said he understood the building had been sold to a group which wants to turn it into an Islamic education centre – according to current owners the Root Organisation.
He said they had originally been given until December 7 to vacate the building, which had been extended to January 4.
Mr Woods said: “The people that own the building just want us out.
“We have got 350 members and a turnover of £250,000 a year.
“It is a thriving business but it seems the owners just don’t care.
“One hundred and 20 years of tradition with the local community and a provision of services is about to go down the pan.
“I want to get the club back or for the members to be given the opportunity to buy it.
“But we have had discussions and we have not been offered that opportunity.”
Rob Morrall, managing director of the Root Organisation, which is based in Warrington and owns the free hold for the building, said: “The Conservative Club is not being forced out.
“They could not afford to pay and the place has been on the market for quite some time, so it should not have come as a surprise.
“The agreement they have signed gives them a week’s notice, but we have given them as much notice as possible.
“We have been very fair and very reasonable.
“The building should have closed four or five years ago but we saved it and wanted to work with them.”