CAMPAIGNERS aiming to save Maltby’s Stute accused Ciswo of going behind their backs after the club was put up for sale.
Maltby Miners Welfare & Recreation Protection Group had been readying a plan to reopen the Muglet Lane venue.
They were been heartened when landowners Ciswo the coal-mining charity repossessed the building in June and pledged to work with the community.
But the Stute appeared on the Rightmove website featuring photos taken before the end of August deadline for the protection group’s deadline to submit proposals.
“We’ve got a completely viable option,” said Terry Gormley, protection group chairman.
“But this is the first occasion in all my dealings with Ciswo that they’ve not been honest with us.
“We had pledges of several thousand pounds and an agreement from a firm that if the Stute was losing money in the first two years, they would cover any shortfall. It was going to remove the risk.
“We met with Ciswo on August 6 and they were saying they would give us the opportunity. They were still saying they wanted to work with us.
“We went away and had meetings with others. We spent two-and-a-half to three hours at Maltby Town Council on a Friday evening.”
He added: “Then we see the building on Rightmove, who told us the photos on their site had been taken on August 20.
“We knew they were taken before the deadline we were given because we spent the whole August bank holiday clearing up and tidying the site, and the photos were before that.”
The Stute and its caretaker’s bungalow are up for auction on October 8, with a guide price of £85,000.
Rother Valley MP Alexander Stafford said he was disappointed and concerned that the site was being offloaded by Ciswo.
He added: “In spite of this, I will continue to advocate for the Stute and support any and all groups that are also fighting for its protection.
“I am actively engaging with Ciswo to give the protection group the additional time they need to deliver a viable business plan.
“I am also trying to arrange an onsite meeting between the protection group, Ciswo and myself, with the hope that a constructive resolution can be found and we are indeed able to protect this community asset.”
The MP tabled a parliamentary motion on Monday (21) calling on Ciswo to stop the sale of the Stute.
The working men’s club was closed in late 2019, which the then directors said would help protect the linked sports and recreation facilities, which are home to Maltby Main FC.
A Ciswo spokesman said: “Since June, we have been engaging with the community over the future of the Maltby Miners Welfare Institute.
“Unfortunately, initial proposals have not been followed up with concrete plans and costs.
“As the site is not currently delivering any charitable outcomes, is costing significant amounts of money to keep safe and secure following regular bouts of anti-social behaviour and would cost even more to bring into a usable condition, we have taken the decision to progress with the sale of the site.
“Since taking control of the assets of Maltby Colliery Institute and Recreation Ground Scheme in June, we have spent more than £15,000 on facilities on site and have been very pleased to see the recreational facilities back in use.
“We will continue to support the recreational facilities on Muglet Lane, which we recognise are integral to the community.”