20th Aug, 2019

Historic sports club faces closure from Jaguar Land Rover 'car park' move

Felix Nobes 16th May, 2019 Updated: 16th May, 2019

JAGUAR Land Rover is planning to turn a historic sports and social club used by staff at the Lode Lane factory in Solihull into a car park, campaigners say.

JLR wants to reclaim the land on which the Land Rover Sports and Social Club is situated and submit an application to build a car park on the playing fields, members revealed in a Facebook post on Tuesday (May 14).

In a move which has prompted sadness and anger, the club is expected to be given 12 months before its lease covering much of the playing fields is revoked.

JLR owns the well-used site on Billsmore Green which has been a community hub for Elmdon residents for more than 45 years.

The club says it has more than 3,500 members – about 3,000 of which are workers or former workers at the factory.

In what campaigners are calling a David vs Goliath battle, the club has launched a fundraising drive for costly legal fees and support for the club in the meantime.

It says it is difficult to imagine the club could continue without the playing fields as the clubhouse relies on the money from sports teams who play on the field, who are now also under threat.

The loss of the clubhouse could also jeopardise the future of Solihull Music School and other local clubs.

A statement on the social club’s Facebook page states: “JLR hasn’t supplied any further detail other than it will be serving notice and submitting planning applications for the sports field to be turned into a car park for JLR parking.

“The application will be a two stage process, the first stage will result in the football pitches being lost and local residents access denied.

“We are expecting this first notice to be served on us in the next two weeks, which gives us 12 months.

“The second stage involves the current end of lease in 2022 and JLR’s intention is to reclaim the land in its entirety – incorporating the rugby pitches and the social club.

“The impact on staff, committee, club users, all sports teams and local residents will be huge and we would welcome support from you all.”

A JLR spokesman said: “The plant will undergo significant technology upgrades, including the development of new staff facilities.

“In support of this, JLR has served notice on part of the sports field, and has advised the Land Rover Sports and Social Club that the current lease on the remaining land and property will not be extended when it expires.

“Jaguar Land Rover is working closely with the club and relevant parties to ensure a smooth transfer over the next 12 months.”

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