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CAST ADRIFT; Boat enthusiasts seek shelter as they make way for a cafe.

Byline: DAVE ROBSON dave.robson@eveninggazette.co.uk

MODEL boat fans need a new place to drop anchor after learning their clubhouse is to become a cafe.

Members of Redcar Model Boat Club, who sail their vessels at Coatham Boating Lake four times a week, have used the lakeside former boathouse as a club HQ for years. But they've now had to quit the clubhouse because Redcar and Cleveland Council wants to include it in the revamped lake area.

Formed in 1995, the 40-member club meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6pm to 8pm and Saturdays and Sundays, 2pm-4pm, to sail a mix of models, from lifeboats and trawlers to yachts and speedboats.

Members also attend boat shows - most recently a two-day exhibition at EventCity in Manchester. Membership fell when the lake was drained for two years during refurbishment work, but there's enough interest to keep things afloat. And while they'll keep sailing at the lake, without somewhere to meet up and store equipment like buoys and waders, they've hit a snag.

Spokesman Rob Heseltine, 31, from Eston, said: "The council wants us to make way for a cafe and a retail unit, so we'll have no covered shelter. We're trying to work with the council to get somewhere else, but it would be great to hear from anyone who has somewhere suitable."

Cleveland Police officer Rob added: "The club is all about coming down, sailing your boats and having a natter. We'll have a problem with no clubhouse, but we'll try and keep going. We just need a little cabin - somewhere we can keep our stuff and get shelter."

Councillor Norman Pickthall, Cabinet member for corporate resources, said: "We hope to see the lake and boathouse offering residents and visitors the chance to hire boats or other craft, and to purchase drinks and snacks.

"The council has worked closely with Redcar Model Boat Club throughout the time they have had use of the building, so this development opportunity should not be a surprise to them. We have been in discussions with the club for well over a year, talking to them about our plans to make better use of the building and the lake, and we are happy to continue to work with the club.

"We anticipate contractors will go on-site later this month."

Once work is complete, the club "will be welcome to put in a bid to lease all or part of the building," he said.

| For more on the club, visit www.redcarmodelboatclub.webeden.co.uk

" We're trying to work with the council to get somewhere else, but it would be great to hear from anyone who has somewhere suitable -Redcar Model Boat "Club spokesman Rob Heseltine, pictured left at a recent exhibition

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REVAMP: Coatham Boating Lake, left, and the clubhouse, above, that is to become a cafe Picture above by KATIE LUNN
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Mar 12, 2013
Words:479
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