Blackwood police club closes doors after 38 years
9:55pm Thursday 10th January 2013 in News
BLACKWOOD Police Social Club was forced to close after 38 years over fears it could impact operational matters next door at the police station.
Club chairman David Davies said he and some of its 450-plus members fought hard to change chief constable, Carmel Napier's mind but to no avail.
Now more than a dozen community groups, including the Sirhowy Valley Snooker Club, the Blackwood and District Operatic Society, have had to find a new place to meet.
Members also held several fundraisers there, which benefited local organisations including the Cylch Meithrin Pontllanfraith nursery. But the future of such events is under threat.
Mr Davies, a retired police inspector, said he understood the chief constable's concerns but added the club had been there for 38 years without incident and questioned what had changed.
He said: "It's caused a bit of concern and we did battle to save the club but we failed. It's a great shame because it was headquarters to many clubs.
"We recognise that there's a police station next door and we were there for 38 years with the consent of the chief constable but the current one has decided that she no longer wanted us there."
Since shutting its doors on January 6 members have been trying to find new homes for its fixtures and fittings and have so far donated furniture to local football clubs, scout groups and schools.
The club was formed in 1974 when the former gym building was first used for social events. They became so successful that the organisation applied for a licence to operate as a social club from the magistrates' court.
A Gwent Police spokeswoman said: "After some deliberation Gwent Police decided that it was no longer appropriate to have a licensed social club located in the grounds of an operational police station.
"As a modern forward thinking police force operating on behalf of the public Gwent Police needs to ensure that all its buildings are used in a manner that is consistent with the values of the force and for appropriate policing purposes."
Mr Davies, 70, thanked all those who made the club a success and praised them for their loyalty over the years.