by Keyan Milanian
A social club is in a race against time to secure funding to keep it open.
BAE Systems Sports and Social Club, in Bells Lane, Hoo, had hoped to secure planning permission for a 97-home development on land belonging to the company.
But the first application was refused in 2007 and the second, in March, was withdrawn as the council told the company it was likely to be declined.
If accepted it was hoped the club would have received about £3.5 million in funding.
Andy Frost, manager of the club, said he was now looking at running the club independently from BAE Systems but would need to have about 1,000 members committed to paying next year’s membership fees.
The club has between 850 and 900 members.
Representatives from BAE will meet Mr Frost to count the amount of members committed to paying fees by Monday, November 23.
More than 800 letters have already been sent to members explaining the situation.
Mr Frost said: “It is looking fairly bleak at the moment.
“We have a lot of members using the facilities and there are also a lot of other groups, including children, who use them. If this shuts down where do those kids go?
“It is very clear cut, if we only have 600 people by November 23 we will close, if we are only 50 short of the target there is a possibility we could carry on.”
Regular member fees have gone up by about £50 to £180 per year.
The group has a debt of £35,000 and is considering cutbacks to help make up the predicted £175,000 it will cost to run the club for a year.