MORE than 100 members of a closed Eastbourne snooker hall will be reunited with their long-lost equipment when owners open its doors for a short time.
Snooker players of Q-Ball in Seaside have been deprived of their cues and trophies, worth thousands of pounds, since late August when former tenant Dave Mullen left amid financial trouble.
But owners of the property District and Urban Group plc have told their agents Ross & Co to open the venue for members to collect their personal belongings.
The future of the snooker club is, however, still in doubt.
Richard Graham, a director of District and Urban Group plc, said, “We have certainly instructed the agents (Ross & Co) to open the property for members because they should have their belongings back.”
The Herald reported the club’s closure, which cast doubt over the survival of Eastbourne and District Snooker League, in September.
Mr Mullen, who was later declared bankrupt, handed in his keys to Ross & Co on August 24, leaving the tenancy in the hands of his ex-wife Emma Mullen and his mother-in-law Pamela Cable.
Bill Hunt, press officer for Eastbourne and District Snooker League and a member of Q-Ball, said, “I understand it’s going to happen in the near future. It’s good news in one way but on the other hand it looks like the death of Q-Ball.”
Jim Hennessey, a member of the snooker club for 15 years, said, “It’s a result or, rather, it will be a result when they finally open the doors and we can get our cues back.
“It’s just a matter of principle. They have got my property and I want it back.”
In November District and Urban Group plc submitted a draft order to the courts for the repayment of £40,000 in outstanding rent from Mr Mullen and his business partners, who also ran Mullen’s pub in Seaside.
They added the premises could not be opened without the tenants’ consent, who are also responsible for the building’s contents.
The Herald spoke to Mr Mullen at the Junction Inn in Groombridge and he said, “Snooker club members got their cues back. If there are a handful of cues left you would be lucky. In the last few weeks when I was open I told people to come in and get them.”
THE future of Eastbourne’s largest snooker club looks bleak.
Q-Ball, former home to 13 teams, has been closed since August with no hint of it reopening to the dismay of its many members. Dave Mullen and his business partners still hold the lease but there is little hope of the current tenants returning to run the club.
Some players believe if proprietor District and Urban Group plc, which owns five shops underneath the club, eventually reclaims the building it could enter a planning application to replace it with shops and flats.
Former member Jim Hennessey said, “My personal opinion is it [Q-Ball] will fold. It’s a little strange that of all the properties on the ground floor only one is open. Reading between the lines I would have thought they [the owners] have other plans. But that’s pure conjecture.”
Richard Graham, a director of District and Urban Group plc, denied the rumours, saying, “If you know anyone who wants to take over a snooker club please let me know. It might make a health club.”