A long-running Horsham club has been ‘forced to close’ after the announcement its current home is set to be redeveloped.
After 50 years in the town Salvo Rifle Club has ‘ceased to exist’ following the decision to turn its base at the Holbrook Club into a new facility.
The sports and social club, in North Heath Lane, confirmed it was looking to redevelop the range, turning it into a new building which is expected to increase the usage of the club by 500 members.
The rifle club said the news had come as a ‘really big blow’ and was a ‘bitter pill to swallow’.
A spokesman said: “Britain has a long and successful history in competitive shooting sports. In recent years we have seen success in both Olympics and Commonwealth games.
“Shooting provides so much more than punching holes in paper targets. It teaches participants self-discipline and great self-control, despite what you may have seen in the movies it requires a high degree of concentration. Any negative feelings such as anger or any other emotional stress will destroy any possibility of achieving the required high scores.
“Facilities for shooting is very limited in Britain and Salvo Rifle club in Horsham has a proud 50 year history, and has produced some fine shooters competing and winning trophies at county level and several members have represented Sussex in national competitions.
“In addition to this we have done work Disabled shooters and promoted a safe environment for young shooters practicing Air Riffle (this was supported by Ian Ford – at Horsham district council) who was very disappointed to see this be discontinued.
“We would like to thank all our members, past and present, for many enjoyable shoots both in our range in Horsham and at Bisley.”
The Holbrook Club said the range was ‘long under-used’ and there were plans - subject to approval - to convert it into a group training facility.
A spokesman for the club said: “The rifle range has long been an under-used asset at the Club, with (approx) only 65 of our 1850 members using the facility.
“There are plans (subject to planning consent) which will convert the range into a group training facility, which will attract many new members to the club and we anticipate usage of the old range to increase to more than 500 members. This change will improve facilities for our members and generate significant, and much needed, income for the club.”