Cricket club could be forced to leave its Isham home due to proposed rent rise

Isham v Wellingborough Town last year

Isham v Wellingborough Town last year

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A cricket club could be forced to leave its home unless an agreement can be reached over a proposed 124 per cent increase to their annual rent.

Isham Cricket Club is now asking supporters to petition to the village parish council - who are trustees of the land - in an attempt to change their minds over the rise.

Isham has played at its Orlingbury Road home since the late 1970s but feel their long-term future is in doubt if the negotiations are unsuccessful.

Club treasurer Tony Robinson said: “The parish council took over as trustees from the Playing Fields Association three years ago.

“At that point we started discussing the lease renewal and the council had an independent valuation done to judge what the rent should be.

“That came out at £515 - an increase of 11 per cent on what we currently pay - which we felt was reasonable.

“However, the council demanded we pay £1,040 a year which is up 124 per cent and has no bearing on the land’s market value.

“It would mean we need to find another £13,000 plus inflation over the period of the lease and it is questionable whether we could do that on top of rates and insurance and paying all the maintenance costs including beyond the cricket boundary grass-cutting, hedge trimming and dog bin provision.

“We are a non-profit making club who are run by volunteers in an effort to make cricket affordable for all.

“We are solely responsible for the upkeep of the ground and pavilion and get no help from the council despite the field being a public recreational facility.

“We as a club run five senior sides and five youth teams but we also have two football clubs playing here, a daily pre-school that uses the pavilion as well as various village events including a monthly pensioners lunch.

“These would probably cease if the proposed lease increase were applied.

“The facility is a valuable community asset which we maintain thanks to the commitment of our volunteers but we cannot be treated as a blank cheque book by the parish council and just keep raising more and more money.”

A spokesman for Isham Parish Council said: “The Playing Fields Association is dealing with this matter and they will be making a response to the cricket club in the new year.”

Anyone who would like to offer their support to Isham Cricket Club is asked to email Isham Parish Council at clerk@ishamparishcouncil.org.uk.

More information can be found at www.ishamcc.co.uk.