Fire-ravaged Sidley sports club has finally been sold

The charred remains of the Sidley Sports and Social Club building following the fire. SUS-150331-120300001
The charred remains of the Sidley Sports and Social Club building following the fire. SUS-150331-120300001

A derelict sports club, which was devastated by fire earlier in the year, has been sold, it emerged this week.

Sidley Sports and Social Club entered into liquidation in 2013, and the derelict building had become a magnet for vandals.

On February 28 this year, arsonists targeted the site, with the ferocious blaze causing extensive damage to the clubhouse.

This week business recovery and insolvency specialist Begbies Traynor revealed it had completed the sale of the club on March 2 to Sustainable Land Plc.

The liquidator, Jon Beard, said his team had worked tirelessly over the past 20 months to secure the site and find a suitable buyer.

Mr Beard said: “I am delighted to be able to announce the sale of the Sidley Sports and Social Club site.

“After nearly two years of very hard work by my team, we have managed to secure the sale of the site to a buyer, who we hope will be able to work with the community to build a future that is welcomed by local residents.

“My hope now is that the site will once again become the focus of the community and I would like to thank all those who offered their valued assistance during the liquidation period.

“The news of the sale means the period of limbo in which the site has found itself has now ended and a satisfactory resolution is now hopefully within sight.”

Jon Beard acknowledged that there had been a problem with vandalism over the past 20 months, adding that his team had worked closely with local security providers and the police in order to tackle the problem.

He said: “Despite repeated attempts at vandalism, we have done our very best in difficult circumstances to prevent attacks.

“I would like thank our security contractors and the local police for giving the site additional attention.

“This support has meant that we not only have been able to keep the ground safe, but we have also been able to secure the highest possible price for creditors, enabling us to recover a significant amount of money for organisations and individuals to whom the club was indebted.”

The club’s 4.9-acre site includes a pavilion, stands and stores.

The land was named Gulliver’s Sports Ground after the local farmer who sold it the late 1940s to the then Sidley Cricket and Football Club for £1,000.

The club, which has remained shut since April 2013, once hosted the full Sussex County team for testimonial matches played in honour of England and Sussex cricket legends John and James Langridge, Jim Parks and George Cox, amongst others.