Report news now! Text pictures & video to 80360, starting message with WITNESS then leave a space
Swanley Junction Working Men's Club to become a Wetherspoon
Swanley Junction Working Men’s Club is set to close and be taken over by a pub chain after more than a century.
Wetherspoon is in negotiations to buy the club in the High Street which has been going since 1911.
But after that fell through the club’s steering committee entered into negotiations with Wetherspoon for a deal thought to be in the region of £1.1 million.
Committee member Dave Knight, 75, has been visiting the club for 45 years.
He told News Shopper: "I didn’t want to see it go - nobody wanted to but we didn’t have any option.
"When the Wetherspoon offer came in we thought that was the answer.
"The developers offered us a smaller club but with no money to run it.
The club building in the High Street.
"As the members are not using it now we had to ask whether they would use a new club."
The club once enjoyed a membership of more than 1,400 but that has now collapsed to fewer than 300, with only a small proportion attending regularly.
Mr Knight was one of just 20 who voted against selling the club in the ballot on April 23.
He said: "We have had so many pubs close and other clubs as well - I think they are all feeling the pinch.
"The smoking ban didn’t help and a lack of people supporting the club as they drink at home now, particularly in the winter months when it’s dark and cold and they don’t want to go out."
Club secretary Charlie Moore, 76, added: "It’s a good result for the Swanley area because we will have a Wetherspoon in place and the members won’t have to go into the Lullingstone Castle.
"It will create more jobs which is good."
Members will be in line for a pay-off from the sale once debts are cleared and other fees paid.
Wetherspoon declined to comment as a deal has not yet been formally agreed.
It is hoped everything will go through within the next two months.