Going up in Flames- watching former community centres burn
Foleshill Social Club in Coventry was once again the target for arsonists on August 15th. It was the second attack in the past 6 months. The derelict club, which opened in 1962 and once was a very popular venue for local people, has lay derelict since going out of business more than a year ago. It now suffers the shameful fate of many other clubs. They are closed down, put up for sale by their owners and when no takers can be found, are left to rot. They then become an attraction for those who want to try out their pyrotechnic skills and become even more wrecked. It's a very sorry state of affairs and for those former members who miss the facilities and friendliness the club offered, it is simply heartbreaking.
Derelict clubs are an eye-sore and are dangerous as people live nearby and it is a cost as fire crews have to be called in. Local people have to face all the commotion and noise and for older people this can be frightening.
The Foleshill club blaze ripped through both storeys of the club and gave rise to a lot of black smoke over the local district. The six hours that it took for the fire brigade to defeat the blaze could have been saved if the building had been put to some sort of use instead of laying derelict all this time. The Coventry Telegraph spoke to Margaret Ratcliffe, who lives opposite the club. “We heard all the fire engines and then I just looked out of the window and there were huge flames above the trees. I could just see thick, black smoke in the air above the club.
During the previous attack in April, the arsonist caused 50 per cent damage to the rear of the building. The club was put up for sale for £300,000 by its owners last October. If it wasn't an attractive prospect for potential buyers then, it certainly won't be now it is half burnt out. Mrs Ratcliffe said it was sad seeing the decline of the once popular social club. As private property, nothing can be done to make owners bring this club or any other into use once again. And if the club failed, then maybe there is no point in thinking along those lines. But the need for community centres is still strong and perhaps with some careful planning and TLC such former clubs could be brought back to life for the local community, rather than attracting trouble causers and becoming a worry for those living nearby.
Read More - Coventry Telegraph Feature
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