A HISTORIC sports club will tonight hold a meeting to discuss approving the next stage of a redevelopment which has divided its membership.

In January 2017 the Feniscowles and Pleasington War Memorial Trust’s 600 members gave the go-ahead to replace its existing 1979 pavilion on the Recreation Ground. It was given to the public in 1921 as a memorial to 36 local men who died in the First World War.

Initial estimates for the scheme were £400,000 and a special meeting approved the proposal despite a 40-member petition protesting at interim changes, including moving the snooker table and turning its current room into a daytime coffee/sandwich bar. Now 20 members have signed a second petition.

Their complaints will be on tonight’s agenda along with the approval of the latest £600,000 version of the new pavilion and authorising a legal agreement with investment company Black Pearl, behind the nearby Sappi Paper Mill housing development, to provide £345,000 of the cash needed.

The meeting will also be asked to approve the submission of a planning application for the new clubhouse to Blackburn with Darwen Council next month. Trustee Mike Caton said: “We hope that the next stage of the club’s development will be approved at the meeting.

“This will allow the completion of the legal agreement with Black Pearl and allow us to start raising the remaining £265,000.

“The current estimated cost of the new pavilion, which may have to be scaled back and become a single storey rather than two floors, is £600,000. We have already built a £30,000 garage for the groundsman and his equipment and are adding a children’s playground.

“The signatories to the petition are a small group of dissidents who object to any change at the club.

“This is a major redevelopment to prepare the club for the future and we will demonstrated that the finances are now on a sound footing after several very challenging years.”

The petition signatories also objected to the closing of the bar on Monday nights.

Mr Caton said: “The bar has now reopened on Monday nights but we cannot keep it open every night of the year for a handful of drinkers to watch TV.”