At last! New lease issued for Racing Club Warwick

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After a five-year fight, Racing Club Warwick has finally received a new lease from the district council.

On Monday afternoon Warwick solicitor John Hathaway confirmed that a 21-year lease had been agreed, in compliance with a court order,

Mr Hathaway, of the local firm Heath and Blenkinson, admits the only thing that still shocks him is how the situation had been allowed to drag on for so long.

He said: “Especially when the football club had a letter in 2009 from Andrew Jones, the council’s deputy chief executive, saying yes, we’ve made an error, we’ve granted this lease twice.”

The admission came after the Ministry of Defence had been given a lease, demolished part of the bar at the Racing Club and built a £5,000 new drill hall for air cadets.

The drill hall eventually had to be abandoned and compensation of £400,000 - and up to £500,000 - is to be paid by the district council to the MoD who are to relocate nearby.

On top of this, Racing Club’s honorary chairman Andy Cowlard has threatened to sue for compensation for loss of income from their bar - which was a principal source of income - and trespass by others onto their site, as well as court costs.

Despite this, for him and fellow trustees, Andrew Pheasey and councillors Bob Dhillon and Anne Mellor, the new lease, backdated to December 1, 2013, is a huge relief.

Mr Cowlard said: “This is absolutely fantastic news. The thing that puzzles me now is that with the myriad of letters to the Courier and the paper’s own articles on the subject, I cannot understand why the district council’s auditors, Grant Thornton, have not investigated the matter or attempted to contact me.

“But I would like to thank Mr Hathaway and his staff for their very professional advice and support throughout this matter.”

County and town councillor John Holland (Lab, Warwick), said: “There must be something seriously wrong when an amateur football club has to get a court order to get a lease the law required them to have anyway.”