Club Development II

Trent Rowing Club purchases freehold of Stapenhill Road property

The Committee of the Trent Rowing Club is delighted to announce that the Club has purchased the freehold of its Stapenhill Road premises.

The Club is one of Burton’s oldest sporting institutions with a proud history actually pre-dating the official foundation date of 1863. Members of the Club Management Committee, lead by Chairman John Oram and Secretary Richard Gipson, had been in negotiations over the possible acquisition of the freehold with the Club’s landlords, Mitchells & Butlers (Property) Ltd. These negotiations were successfully concluded in July, with the Club securing the freehold of the land and building for an undisclosed sum.

Trent Rowing Club’s famous blue timber boathouse is 100 years old this year, having been built by Mr H Edwards of Blackpool Street in 1907, costing ‘nearly £400’. The Club has occupied premises on part of the current site for its entire existence, moving into the new boathouse on its completion. For many years the Club rented the property from industrialist Mr C P Spooner of Burton firm Orton & Spooner, and at the time the owner of the Swan Hotel and all land abutting the River Trent in Stapenhill Road. At the beginning of the 2nd World War the property was taken over by the War Department, being used through the war as an Auxiliary Police station. There was also a concrete ‘pill box’ gun emplacement on land which is now part of the Club’s premises, immediately adjacent to the Burton Bridge.

The Club returned to the premises after the war, under a succession of short term leases from Bass, Ratcliffe and Gretton Limited. In 1962 the Club’s Trustees negotiated a 99 year lease, which has been in effect up until July’s transaction.

In 2000, with the dawning of the new millennium, the Committee started to prepare development plans for the long term future of the Club. It was quickly recognised that the Club’s future could be best protected by the acquisition of the freehold of the premises for the members as this would provide the best flexibility for development of the premises, and would also open up new areas of funding and sponsorship. After detailed negotiations with Mitchells & Butlers terms were agreed at the end of 2006. The legal process then continued for several months, with exchange of contracts taking place on July 12th 2007.

The Club’s Committee would like to thank Mitchells & Butlers for recognising the importance of this transaction to the Trent Rowing Club. The Club has managed to complete the purchase without making any considerable impact on Club funds, thanks to generous donations received from Club members, and to gift aid tax relief received on these donations through the Club’s status as a Community Amateur Sports Club. In particular, the Club would like to thank Mrs Joan Gipson, and the Club President Mr John Hayward, for their most generous donations toward the project.

The Club also wishes to acknowledge professional help and advice received from many areas leading to the completion of the purchase. Specifically, thanks go to Mr Paul Rushton of the Rushton Hickman Partnership for his help during the negotiations with Mitchells and Butlers, and Mr Neville Drury of Timms Solicitors in Swadlincote for carrying out the Club’s legal work.

Ownership of the freehold of property is a great asset for any organisation, and for an amateur sports club the benefits can be many fold. Trent Rowing Club is a truly open organisation, with members drawn from all areas of the community. The current Committee, who consider themselves to be the guardians of the Club charged with protection and preservation of a proud and historical institution, are proud to have been able to take this step forward, securing the Club’s position on the Burton sporting map for years to come.

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