Malmesbury Vics demand apology for "lease breach slur"
Updated 1:34pm Friday 23rd May 2014 in News
MALMESBURY Vics officials are demanding a public apology over what they insist are wrong claims by councillors that they are in breach of their lease because of the amount of alcohol sold in their clubhouse.
Secretary Julie Exton said the claims, made at last week’s town council meeting, were an attempt to discredit the club and produced a letter from the Vics’ lawyer backing their stance.
She has also lodged a formal complaint with Wiltshire Council about her council colleague Simon Killane.
He has accused club members of a hate campaign and declared he will not support any bid for funding by the club under its current leadership.
The allegations were made as the Vics, who have been hit by repeated flooding at the Flying Monk Ground for the past two winters, were applying for a £500 grant to help them stage their main VicFest fundraiser.
In his letter solicitor James Lester said the suggestion that the club was in breach was not correct and that the covenant concerning alcohol was not likely to be enforceable anyway.
Mrs Exton, who is also a member of the council and had to leave the chamber for the debate after declaring an interest, told the Standard this week: “I want a public apology.”
The lease contains covenants stating that the tenant will not use the premises for licensed trade, off sales or for a drinking club.
But in it the landlord also agrees “not to seek to enforce the covenants unless compelled to do so as a result of action on the part of another party seeking to enforce against it any covenant or obligation in force at the date hereof.”
Mr Lester explained in his letter: “The history is that there is a covenant on the Town Council’s title in respect of alcohol. It is an old covenant and I am sure it is unenforceable. At the time of the granting of the lease, the Town Council agreed with this, but felt that they needed to have the covenant in the lease just in case it was enforceable.
“However, they agreed to not take any steps against the club unless any steps were taken against them to enforce the covenant. That will not happen.”
The club is also questioning whether Cllr Killane, who as the Standard reported last week, is the subject of a petition calling for his resignation as Wiltshire Councillor, should take part in the debate when the grant application is discussed again on May 13, because of his stated opposition.
This time the club is asking for £500 to be used as a rent holiday.
Mrs Exton paid tribute to fundraisers who had helped the club since she revealed it had virtually nothing in the bank. She said: “I have been able to pay some bills and that has been really, really great.”
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