Matlock: Court fight looms over club control

Change of Ownership: The United Services Club, Crown Square, Matlock.
Change of Ownership: The United Services Club, Crown Square, Matlock.

TWO factions locked in a fierce battle over the control of a Matlock club have proclaimed ‘this means war’ as they prepare to take the other side to court.

The management of the United Services Club has been in dispute ever since its premises in Crown Square were sold in May for £330,000 to Ken Rice, who owns the Black Hippo, in Bakewell Road.

Members and former members of the club, who claim its committee was acting against the club’s rules by making the sale, have formed their own committee. The club’s bank account, which is held with the Royal Bank of Scotland, has now been frozen while the true management of the club is decided.

John McKenna, chairman of the new committee, said: “We have gone through every channel that we can legally and we are quite prepared to go to court.

“We are going to try and get the building back.”

John explained that he hoped the court would recognise the new committee as the correct committee in charge of the club, and he would then be able to reverse the sale of the property.

“We are not going to stop until we get that,” he continued.

“Hopefully Mr Rice will accept his money back with our apologies.”

David Appleby, secretary of the existing committee, said the club was in a state of limbo at the moment as not only was it still searching for affordable premises, but it could not pay its creditors due to the bank account being frozen.

He said the club’s biggest creditor was the Inland Revenue and he was afraid that if they couldn’t repay them, the club would go into liquidation.

“We had to sell the premises because we were losing money hand over fist,” he said.

David said he was fully prepared to meet the new committee in court in order to settle the matter.