Club listing means hope for its future

The Comrades Club in Adelaide Street, Blackpool, has been confirmed as an asset to the community

The Comrades Club in Adelaide Street, Blackpool, has been confirmed as an asset to the community

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A historic town centre building opened by First World War veterans has been secured as a community asset.

The Comrades Club in Adelaide Street has been listed as an Asset of Community Value following an application by Blackpool Civic Trust.

We are delighted the Community Asset status is granted to the Comrades Club as we commemorate the First World War

It is the second building in the town to be secured under the Localism Act after Blackpool FC’s Bloomfield Road 
stadium.

It will mean the building – opened in 1920 – cannot be sold without notice first being given to interested parties and Blackpool Council and gives potential buyers the chance to put together a community bid to buy the building.

Despite the club closing last year and being up for sale, it is hoped the move will lead to its reopening in the future.

Club chairman Tim Pipe said: “The vision is to reopen the club and restore the core values of a place where the local community and all branches of the forces, veterans and their families can meet and relax in a friendly family atmosphere, a club that is not only a hub for the local community but a destination for veterans’ reunions and ex-servicemen’s groups.”

The Comrades Club closed in November with the loss of four jobs after entering administration in 2014.

Mr Pipe said the venue was losing £40,000 a year and was struggling to turn a profit after the triple blow of the smoking ban, an ageing membership and dwindling takings.

The Localism Act 2011’s Community Right to Bid allows community groups to nominate land and buildings as Assets of Community Value to allow more control over future use.

An Asset of Community Value listing gives people an opportunity to bid for the asset if the owner decides to sell, as this triggers a six-month moratorium, during which time the asset cannot be sold except to a community bidder.

The chairman of Blackpool Civic Trust, Joan Humble, welcomed the news.

She said: “This is only the second registration of an Asset of Community Value in Blackpool and the first proposed by Blackpool Civic Trust.

“We are delighted the Community Asset status is granted to the Comrades Club as we commemorate the First World War.”

Freddie Gick, chairman of Civic Voice added: “I would now encourage individuals across England to take inspiration from Blackpool Civic Trust and to consider fighting to give buildings you love greater protection from developers by getting them registered either as local heritage assets or as an Asset of Community Value.”