Herefordshire Council has offered a grant of £200,000 for Ross Sports Centre to refurbish its flood-damaged facilities.

The sports club off Wilton Road in Ross-on-Wye saw its activities disrupted after flood water breached the building in February.

Ross Sports Centre was established in 2011 and is made up of the local cricket club, petanque club, park run and football club.

They took on the building in a dilapidated state and have since run it as a community interest company.

They receive rate relief from Herefordshire council, their landlords, and have invested some £150,000 in grant funding to improve the facilities.

But Paul Flitney, the centre’s director, says they are now in a dire situation after the floods and coronavirus lockdowns.

“We estimated to have circa 650 participating members each week,” Paul Flitney told a Ross Town Council meeting this week.

“Each year we can’t make a profit, so we try to improve facilities.

“But come the floods we were told by Herefordshire Council that we had to give the building back to them as tenants.

“We are into November and still haven’t got the building back. We were initially told it would take five weeks for works to be taken by contractors on behalf of the council to get it back to how it was before.

“We found another £30,000 in grants for flood resilience measures to hopefully protect the building from this happening ever again.

“Unfortunately, we were told in August that there would be another £400,000 worth of works needed to get the building back to its previous state.

“In summary, Herefordshire Council have paid £100,000 to Carters who have basically gutted the building out.

“They have presented the council with a £200,000 bill for refurbishment, £100,000 for compliance, electrics and other mechanics and then £100,000 for the roof and sewerage.

“We are in a dire situation now. Prior to the second lockdown the kids were back. Cricket got a bit of the end of the season. Petanque was just about to start up.

“With the football club, the pitches are excellent, we paid for them, we looked after them and we have two portable toilets. These are the only facilities we have at the moment.

“The council last week have proposed give the community interest company a grant of £200,000 and we do the work ourselves rather than paying more money to Carters.

“They see it as being part of the Talk Community program and they want us as a community organisation to take care of the refurbishment and use local companies and tradesmen.

“We believe the £400,000 for Carters is completely over the top.”

“Since February, we thought we’d be back in 12 weeks now it’s November and it could be three or four months away depending on whether the council fulfil what they promised to us with the £200,000 grant,” Mr Flitney added.

Ross town council said it fully supported the sport centre’s endeavours and would formally write to Herefordshire Council leader David Hitchiner.

“We urge that they come to a speedy agreement,” councillor Julian Utting said.

“We recommend that Herefordshire Council, in addition to the £200,000, should have £100,000 additional contingency funds in case the £200,000 is exceeded by findings during the refurbishment.

“We really want the sports centre to be fully operational by next April, if at all possible.”