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End of an era as Totnes Con Club closes its doors – Totnes Times

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It is the end of an era as Totnes Conservative Social Club closed its doors at the end of last month.
Due to dwindling active membership and the aftermath of Covid, the social part of the building on Station Road stopped serving on July 28.
A notice of closure is posted on the main front door stating the club has ceased trading permanently.
The detached building is Grade 1 listed and owned by the Association of Conservative Clubs, who said they have no immediate plans to change its use.
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Offices for the MP Anthony Mangnall and the Association are still open in the building.
Four members of staff who worked on the social side of the club have lost their jobs, including three full-timers.
A spokesperson at the club said: “Sadly we’ve had to close our doors due to lack of support.
“We had plenty of members but they weren’t coming along to the club enough.
“Covid didn’t help. A lot of our members are older people and, when we could finally open up again, many people had lost their confidence to go out and socialise as much,” added the spokesperson.
The club had more than 250 members when it closed its doors last month. In its heyday it had 1,800 members, and was the base for local groups including Slimming World.
It also hosted many weddings and parties before Covid hit.
The spokesperson added: “We were doing quite well before Covid and even straight afterwards we started getting new members – but they paid their subscriptions and we never saw them.
“People have changed the way they go out.
“How many people want member’s clubs now?
“People just want to be able to go to places when they choose.
“Maybe if we’d opened our doors to non- members we could’ve survived.
“All members clubs around here are now closed, we were the last one to go. We did a lot of hard work to keep it going but it’s just one of those things I guess.
“People learnt to live a different way during Covid, not going out and spending money.
“The way people socialise nowadays is different and we have to change to accommodate it. Times change, people change.”
The property was built in 1889 and was originally a ‘Gentlemen’s Club’ before it became the home of the Conservative Club.
A spokesperson for the Association of Conservative Clubs said: “No decision has been made as of yet regarding the closure or sale of the building.”
Anthony Mangnall, Conservative MP for Totnes, sad he was sad to see the closure of the club.
He said: “It’s sad to see the TCCA bar and club close after so many years.
“It unfortunately shows the tough environment that many hospitality businesses are facing. That said, I hope the building will be taken on by someone who will look after and cherish it for future years.”
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