DARWEN'S oldest Conservative club premises has been put up for sale -- a year after financial difficulties forced its closure.

And Whitehall ward councillor Karimeh Foster today said she hoped the sale would be good news for the community.

Offers are invited for the Bolton Road Conservative Club, Northcote Street, before Friday, October 29.

The sale is being handled by Mortimers Chartered Surveyors, Darwen, who say there has already been a lot of interest.

The club, known as the 'top con', had been trying to stave off financial disaster since a £7,500 VAT bill arrived unexpectedly early last year.

Organisers held crisis talks and appealed to club members to support fund-raising efforts and come up with ideas to avoid it having to close.

The club took a further blow in May last year with the cancellation of a three-month entertainment bonanza because it could not afford to pay the acts.

The club leased the building, which was privately owned, until it folded in September 2003.

Mayoress of Blackburn with Darwen, Coun Foster today said: "It will be good if someone buys it and puts it back into use. It would be great to use as a community base but if that's not an option financially then I'd like to see it brought back up to standard and used for employment.

"If someone can bring more jobs into the town and improve the area then it is good news."

A Mortimers spokesman said: "There is no guide price, people are invited to offer whatever they feel the building is worth with its fixtures and fittings. We have had a lot of interest and are showing people round every day."

The building is described as suitable for a variety of uses, subject to planning permission.

Former club chairman John Cree, today said: "It has stood empty for 12 months. It was forced to close because of the lack of support which led to the financial problems.

"I think it's let down slightly by the fact it has no parking areas. It got worse as members died and no-one else joined us. It was sad when it had to close."

The club, built in 1887, was the oldest of the two Conservative clubs in Darwen.