Village cricket club in rent-rise row saved

A VILLAGE cricket club which warned it could fold because it could not afford a rent increase totalling 165,000 per cent has been saved.

Barkisland CC, which has an illustrious history dating back 100 years, was threatened with a 21-day eviction notice after the owners offered a new lease on terms the committee could not meet.

The club last paid a peppercorn rent of 5 to former owner John Maude in 2003, but in the summer was faced with a demand for 57,000 in back payments and an annual payment of 8,250 in line with the site's commercial value.

After months of legal wrangling, the committee will now pay 6,500 a year.

Local businesses and club members have agreed to meet a backpayment for a contested period between 2003 and the start of the new lease, which will begin in January.

The amount previously touted was 57,000 but the club will not comment on how much they have paid under the new agreement.

Secretary Keith Coleman said: "Thanks to the assistance of a number of local people and businesses we have been able to borrow funds to pay the rental premium.

"It's more than we have been used to paying in the past but we're just going to have to maximise our income."

Following the demand for 57,000 back payment and an annual rent rise to 8,250, the Calderdale club was left in a quandry. It said it could not meet the demands and had a six-figure offer to buy the club outright rejected.

A club spokesman said: "After negotiations and a legal process that took far longer than was imagined, the immediate and medium-term future of the club is secured."

First team captain Simon Wheelwright said the players were relieved a decision had been made. "It was hard enough on the pitch this year," he said.