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Bishop urged to back battle to keep Gladiator Club open
MEMBERS of an East Oxford club that could be sold into private hands for redevelopment have appealed to the Bishop of Oxford for help.
It was announced last September that the site of Iffley Road’s Gladiator Club, including the main building and two flats, would be put on the market by owners The Gladiator Trust – a Christian foundation – for an estimated £1.25m.
Now club chairman Jane Casey said she had appealed to the Diocese of Oxford for assistance, by writing to the Bishop, the Rt Rev John Pritchard.
She said: “We have appealed to him to ask if there is anything he can do to help us.
“The trust is a Christian foundation so we are hoping the bishop can try and talk to them about allowing the club to be sold to someone who will allow it to continue as it is.
“It would be a great pity if after 75 years the club closed.”
The £1.25m figure was last night said by the Trust, which supports church projects, to be under consideration, but club members have said the move is heartbreaking.
Trust chairman Michael Wells said: “The reason we are selling it because it is the right way for the trust to proceed.
“The aim of the trust is to handle its property and assets in a charitable way.”
The Gladiator Club was first opened in 1946 by the Society of St John the Evangelist, known as “the Cowley Fathers”.
Until 1960 the Cowley Fathers acted as landlords.
That responsibility was then transferred to the Gladiator Trust, which currently runs the property.
The Oxford Mail attempted to contact the bishop, but the Diocese of Oxford said he was not available to comment.
Oxford City Council has also put in a bid for the site, but it was turned down.
Leader Bob Price this week said he hoped the Gladiator Trust would “put our bid into context”.
He said: “It is not just a building to get value out of.
“It is a place with a lot of community commitment.”
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