Dear Headley Park member,once again the club's year draws to a close and we gather to review what has been achieved and to look forward to where we would like to be in the coming year. From the clubs perspective 2017 for me has but one story to tell. I was contacted in January to be told that the club might again be up for sale should we be able to raise the £300,000+ that was being sought. The size of the parcel of land on offer from the mysterious "Roger Adams" was exactly the same as had been purchased from Lithuanian House Ltd.
Over the next few months the committee yet again explored all of the possible options available to us to raise the funds needed. I kept negotiating via a third party and it became obvious to me that the owner had been trying to sell the land to the development company that had bought the hotel site. I contacted the developers and it became apparent that they were not interested in purchasing the range site having already sunk several million into the hotel that in its current format was affording them a nil return on capital.
By April this situation had allowed a negotiation on price to offers in the region of £230,000. All of this was great news with the one small problem that we were unable to raise any finance to a level that came anywhere close to the sum being asked. Members might well remember how the then Treasurer and I both felt when Lithuanian House Ltd put the land out to tender and we put in bid of £150,000 and this was then the very top of what we could afford. So with a heavy heart I contacted the vendor to tell him that we could not raise the funds needed.
A few days after doing this one of our committee members Mike Suggett spoke to me and suggested that with a little financial help from the club he might be in a position to purchase the site. Things then progressed but with "Mr Adams" insisting that he retained the 2017 rental payment and that Mike paid for "Mr Adams" legal expenses plus other issues with potential VAT liabilities the whole purchase came very close to falling apart.
In the end I am happy to report that Mike was successful in buying the range site and did so in his own right without any financial help from the club. This leaves the club with a new landlord in Mike Suggett and from our perspective if we must have a landlord we could not do better than having one of our own in that position.
The existing tenancy agreement is of course still valid until 31/12/2018 and what we are now going to do is look to set up a new agreement with Mike so that the clubs future can be secured going forward and perhaps we can now start on making improvements to the facilities that we have not done in the past due to the nature of the Lithuanian tenancy agreement. In the fullness of time we as a club clearly still want to purchase the ranges from Mike and perhaps now we will be able to put together an agreement that will facilitate the club being able to do this at some future point at the same time as we sort out a new lease. In the meantime we have much to thank Mike for in securing the clubs future.
I am aware as no doubt are a number of you of break ins at other clubs by persons presumably looking for firearms. In the current climate we must all up our game when it comes to our range and personal security. The first and easiest way to do this is for ALL members to wear their membership cards whilst using the facilities. This is especially important given the freedom of range use that we all enjoy. To this end we are in the process of organising club lanyards and clasps to hold the membership cards. Anyone not displaying a current membership card should be challenged as they have no business being on the range.
I would also urge members who shoot alone to have particular regard to the security of their firearms whilst shooting. For example if I am shooting on my own I choose to take my firearm forward with me when I go to change a target. You could perhaps remove say a bolt and take that with you to achieve the same effect. If a few of you are gathered for a friendly informal midweek shoot I would consider it is clearly prudent to ensure that by mutual agreement somebody is designated to remain on the firing point whilst the rest check their targets. Lets do our best to make life very difficult for any potential thief.
I would also ask members to be vigilant and report any strange behaviours they might come across such as people noting members car number plates etc. I am told this has happened at another clubs and when challenged the people recording the number plates ran off. Please report anything untoward to me and or the Police.
New Chairman required:
David Watkin is standing down as Chairman and I thank him for his work in that role. So we now need another Chairman – its an essential role in the club with oversight for competency cards and training standards. If you feel able to put yourself forward for the job please get a nomination back to me before the AGM.
Modern 3 Gun Match:
Clive Taylor is looking to start shooting a modern 3 gun match that will take place in “The Pit” range on the same date that the fullbore rifle shoots run at Bisley. He is keen to run this in a similar way to Bisley shoots and this will require the removal of the 3 round limitation placed on Target Shotgun by the 2014 AGM. He will be presenting his thoughts concerning this to the AGM and will be looking for a vote to change the current limitations increasing magazine capacity to a 9 round limit.
My personal view on this is that if the modern 3 gun match is limited to being shot in “The Pit” using standard velocity cartridges with a maximum 32g load I cannot see a problem being created. Sound issues have always been of paramount concern and continue to be so. Therfore provided the new shoot has no impact in this regard with it would seem to be a great opportunity to start a new discipline.
Rod Philpott Hon.Sec.