RESIDENTS are fearing for the future of their village social club after it closed its doors.

The Hedingham Sports and Social Club, in Sible Hedingham, has shut for what may be the final time.

The club, which survived a previous closure threat in 2013, has been an asset to villagers for decades.

But now it has closed after its status as a listed community asset with Braintree Council lapsed in 2018.

The council’s community asset list allows residents to place a building or land on the list in order to give them time to find a community solution for an asset of community value.

This could be in the form of buying the premises from the owner or forming a group to raise money to keep the building in community use, backed up with a community plan of action.

The club boasted two full size snooker tables and opportunities to play darts, table tennis and bowls, as well as a large function room.

Hedingham councillor Jo Beavis said: “This is very sad news for its members and users.

“Approximately ten years ago, the club was in a similar position but, a last minute change in the committee membership, saw the club put on the list held by Braintree Council. I have been advised by Braintree Council that this listing has now lapsed.

“The club members wrote to Sible Hedingham Parish Council in September and raised the issue again at the November parish council meeting seeking support from the parish council who have agreed to look at the issue at its December meeting.

“I am in touch with club members and have written to Braintree Council, on their behalf, to seek advice about the lapsed listing being reinstated which would give our community time to perhaps find a solution.”

She added: “The club, which originated from the Rippers industrial site, has served as an asset to members and residents for decades. It was hoped the new 200-home Earls Garden estate would help to increase the club’s membership and secure the club’s future.

“Its closure will be a very sad loss to its members and users. I hope a solution can be found to keep the building in community management.”