Gladiator Club could be granted a cash lifeline

Brian Richards

Brian Richards

First published in News

OXFORD City Council could step in to save a social club in East Oxford.

Council leader Bob Price has said the authority could stump up the funds to help save the closure-threatened Gladiator Club in Iffley Road.

But he said the council would only be able to part-fund the deal, but it would be conditional on the community group fighting to save the club providing the rest of the money.

Mr Price said: “If the club is able to put in a certain amount of money there may well be a deal to be done on a joint purchase.

“We are in the early stages of doing due diligence on that before it can go any further. We are interested in it and if we could get it to work it would be great, but it depends on things we don’t know about at the moment.”

He said the council would have a clearer idea of whether it could help buy the building by the end of March at the latest.

The Gladiator Sports and Social Club, including the club building and two flats, was put up for sale in September by owners The Gladiator Trust – a Christian foundation – as a development opportunity for £1.25m.

But the groups which use the club have since used the Localism Act to have it listed as an “asset of community value” which means it has been taken off the open market until May 5, to give the community a chance to buy it.

Chairman Brian Richards said the club would not be commenting further on the plans until the council had come back with a firm proposal.

He said: “There are a lot of things we are trying to get organised to raise funds but we have not got a whole plan together yet.”

Christine Burden, who runs Sweet Memories from the site, said: “It is of course good news that the council is interested but we don’t know exactly what is going to happen, so we will have to wait and see.”

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Last month, The Gladiator Trust requested the council launch a review into the decision to list the East Oxford social club as an asset of community value but this was unsuccessful.

Once the deadline of May 5 passes, the building will go back on the open market.

The Gladiator Trust did not wish to comment.

TIMELINE

  • September 2013 – Club is put up for sale by the Gladiator Trust
  • October 2013 – City council begins assessing whether the site is an Asset of Community Value
  • December 2013 – City council confirms it is an Asset of Community Value. The trust challenges the decision.
  • January 2014 – City council again confirms site is an Asset of Community Value and a community group confirms its interest in the site.

s May 2014 – The moratorium for the site ends.

Comments (3)

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8:41am Thu 27 Feb 14

Myron Blatz says...

One of the issues for City Council is that although the Gladiators is still a well-supported drinking and social club, which also supports old people at christmas and throughout the year, it isn't actually a local community centre, and sadly hasn't really been a proper sports club for a long time - unless you include darts, bar-billiards and Aunt Sally! It's also true that at a time (as we have seen reported in the Oxford Mail over the past coupke of years) when City Council has been closing-down its own comunity centres and threatening to build yet more houses, that any financial support it miht give to those trying to save the Club premises might include either less emphasis on the Club as a local boozer, or maybe even inclusion of new social housing to be included on the site, and which might at least seem more 'christian' than flogging-off the site to the highest bidder - though it's a mystery where Labour-led City Council will 'find' the money, when week-in, week-out the likes of Labour's Cllr 'Robin Hood' Price keep telling us about the cut-backs which the Council is being 'forced to make' by the Tory-led Coalition and County Council, and despite even more money likely to have to be spent on flood prevention for Oxford.
One of the issues for City Council is that although the Gladiators is still a well-supported drinking and social club, which also supports old people at christmas and throughout the year, it isn't actually a local community centre, and sadly hasn't really been a proper sports club for a long time - unless you include darts, bar-billiards and Aunt Sally! It's also true that at a time (as we have seen reported in the Oxford Mail over the past coupke of years) when City Council has been closing-down its own comunity centres and threatening to build yet more houses, that any financial support it miht give to those trying to save the Club premises might include either less emphasis on the Club as a local boozer, or maybe even inclusion of new social housing to be included on the site, and which might at least seem more 'christian' than flogging-off the site to the highest bidder - though it's a mystery where Labour-led City Council will 'find' the money, when week-in, week-out the likes of Labour's Cllr 'Robin Hood' Price keep telling us about the cut-backs which the Council is being 'forced to make' by the Tory-led Coalition and County Council, and despite even more money likely to have to be spent on flood prevention for Oxford. Myron Blatz
  • Score: 0

9:57am Thu 27 Feb 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

How much of the £1.25M has the community raised already?

They have 67 days to go.
How much of the £1.25M has the community raised already? They have 67 days to go. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: -2

11:53am Sat 1 Mar 14

Hr Flick says...

Bravo! Oxford City Council!

I sincerely hope that a partnership between OCC and the social club can be arranged to continue the existence of this local institution which has a long and proud history. The Gladiator Club is indeed an asset of community value, I understand that the club was founded almost 70 years ago and throughout that time the ethos of the club has always been community rather than profit based, this is evidenced by the charitable events that have been reported within the pages of the Oxford Mail over the years.

The Trustees have now decided to withdraw their support for the continuation of the club but it is refreshing to learn that Oxford City Council recognises the value of this local amenity and is prepared to explore ways of securing its future. Once assets such as the Gladiator Club are lost they are unlikely to by replaced leaving the whole community a little poorer.

The OCC/Gladiator Club partnership deserves to be commended by the people of this city.
Bravo! Oxford City Council! I sincerely hope that a partnership between OCC and the social club can be arranged to continue the existence of this local institution which has a long and proud history. The Gladiator Club is indeed an asset of community value, I understand that the club was founded almost 70 years ago and throughout that time the ethos of the club has always been community rather than profit based, this is evidenced by the charitable events that have been reported within the pages of the Oxford Mail over the years. The Trustees have now decided to withdraw their support for the continuation of the club but it is refreshing to learn that Oxford City Council recognises the value of this local amenity and is prepared to explore ways of securing its future. Once assets such as the Gladiator Club are lost they are unlikely to by replaced leaving the whole community a little poorer. The OCC/Gladiator Club partnership deserves to be commended by the people of this city. Hr Flick
  • Score: 0

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