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Historic yacht club closes amid fears it is sinking
A HISTORIC yacht club has closed its 130-year-old clubhouse over fears it may be sinking.
The Alexandra Yacht Club’s Victorian building, next to the Cliff Lift, in Southend Cliff Gardens, has been temporarily shut for business after a structural report.
Commodore Andy Solkhon said: “We have had a report and there are signs it might be sliding.
“At the moment, surveyors are looking into it, but for safety reasons we had to close the clubhouse temporarily.”
The club, celebrating its 140th anniversary this year, leases the building from Southend Council.
A structural report was ordered as the lease is up for renewal, and a survey found signs it may be sinking.
The council is investigating to see if the clifftop premises need underpinning.
A meeting will be held tonight to update the 200 members on whether work needs to be carried out.
Mr Solkhon, a lorry driver from Hockley, said: “It’s in the hands of the surveyors. We are waiting for them to come back. We closed it temporarily the day we got the report because it said at the present time we should shut until further checks are done.”
The club had to move its annual dinner to the Gleneagles guest house, in nearby Clifftown Parade, a couple of weeks ago, after concerns were raised about the clubhouse.
Members can still use the boat store and jetty, opposite the landmark building in Western Esplanade.
The club, formed in 1873, bought the clubhouse, based on the design of an Indian pavilion, from a Mr W Chignall in 1883 and officially opened it on Trafalgar Day, 1884. Mr Solkhon said: “No-one wants to see it come down. It’s part of Southend’s history.”
A council spokesman said: “We’ve been made aware of an issue with the building, but can’t comment further until we’ve received and reviewed the report commissioned by the club.”
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