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Downham Market Club for sale as membership drops

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The future of a third prominent Downham social venue is in doubt today after bosses announced plans to sell it.

Officials of the Downham Market Club say they have been forced into the move by falling membership and trade.

But they insist they are seeking alternative premises and the Paradise Road venue will continue to trade for the time being.

Details of the sale were initially outlined in a post on the club’s Facebook page.

The club currently has around 500 members, though officials admit numbers have fallen in the past 12 to 18 months.

In a statement, the club said: “The club has been forced into a position where, because of financial pressures as a result of falling membership numbers and falling revenues, it needs to sell its premises in order to reduce its overheads, in an attempt to secure the future of the club for its members.

“During the period that the property is up for sale, the committee of the club will be actively looking for alternative suitable premises that meet the members’ needs in accordance with the club’s constitution and, at the same time, deliver the cost savings needed.

“In the interim period the club committee plans to hold regular members’ meetings to keep members appraised and deal with practical issues, such as a change to the club’s rules in order to facilitate an easier and more inclusive decision making process, so that as many members as possible can have their say.

Downham Market Club at 19 Paradise Road, Downham Market, which has been put up for sale.
Downham Market Club at 19 Paradise Road, Downham Market, which has been put up for sale.

“The club committee will continue to act in the best interests of the members and they, together with the secretary, steward and staff of the club, would like to thank all those who continued to loyally support the club and will hopefully continue to do so going forward.”

The club’s announcement comes just weeks after the landlady of another town venue, the Cock Tavern on Lynn Road, announced she was planning to close after 25 years in business, because she could not compete with pub chain J D Wetherspoon’s premises, the Whalebone.

The Swan Hotel in High Street also closed in March, citing the same reason.

Club officials have declined to comment on whether Wetherspoon was a factor in its problems.

The chain has previously defended its business, describing the Whalebone as a “great success”.

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