TIME has been called on plans to revive Ringwood Social Club as volunteers say they have been “battling” with New Forest District Council over planning conditions.

Sisters Helen Homewood and Tina Saddington, who are on the social club’s committee, have been spearheading plans for the West Street club, which was granted planning permission by New Forest District Council (NFDC).

The pair say they have spent just over two years trying to satisfy more than 20 planning conditions to get the project off the ground and start building but keep going “around in circles”.

Helen said: “Part of us thinks it is so sad to have to give up because we have put so much work into it.”

“We really wanted to do it and it be a success for the town,” she added.

“But you can only do so much if you’re getting nowhere and you’re having to do battle all the time. You don’t expect to do battle against your own council.

“It’s a huge disappointment for the town and for everybody in it.”

Helen and Tina say they met with district council representatives in August to discuss the planning conditions and how to move forward with the project.

But they say there is “still nothing” and they are waiting in“limbo” as the costs of carrying out the work are increasing as well as the costs of insurance and standing charges for electricity and gas.

Tina said: “Part of me is angry and part of me is really upset about it because we really thought once we got the planning we’d managed to save the club for the town. We thought we’d done it.”

They say most of the problems have been surrounding the bricks and the windows.

Helen said: “We’ve sat there and said to them, we are getting to the point now where you are running our money down. You want the best of the best and we can’t afford to do the best of the best. There has got to be compromises.”

“Every time we try and do something they want something different, something more,” she said.

The pair say it has cost thousands of pounds and they are “no further” than when they started about eight years ago. They even employed a specialist architect on the advice of the council.

Helen says the council have put “obstacles” in their way and “should be bending over backwards” to help, adding: “We are a club, it’s for the town and owned by people. It’s not for profit. We are going to be employing people in the town. It is community thing.”

The club building, which is a Grade II listed building, has previously been known as The Antelope and Albany Temperance Hotel. After the First World War it became the Comrades Club and later the British Legion Club then Ringwood Social Club.

Helen and Tina had hoped the club would be up and running this year to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the building becoming a social club.

The pair say they are looking at making a formal complaint against NFDC.

A NFDC spokesman said: “We are aware that Ringwood Social Club are not intending to conclude the remaining few matters that would allow the development to commence and that they intend to submit a formal complaint as to how the applications have been dealt with. The council take all such complaints very seriously and undertake a thorough investigation as to the matters raised. In these circumstances it would be inappropriate to comment further as to the details of the case.”