Archers aim to find new home

Tar­get range must move af­ter 20 years as fac­tory buyer raises safety con­cern

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Being Honoured - By Molly Mile­ham-Chap­pell

An archery group has been left with­out an out­door space to prac­tice af­ter the site it has used for decades changed hands.

Tar­get archery club Ash­ford Archers had used the field at the back of the former Headley Broth­ers print fac­tory on Lower Queens Road for 20 years.

The Ken­tish Ex­press re­ported last month that the strug­gling com­pany had been bought by print firm Stones, in a res­cue deal, and the new own­ers have now told the club its “in­for­mal ar­range­ment” to use the land is end­ing.

The club, es­tab­lished for nearly 50 years, has been in sim­i­lar cir­cum­stances over the years, meet­ing at var­i­ous lo­ca­tions in the town af­ter search­ing for new shoot­ing venues be­cause of a change in land own­er­ship.

Ash­ford Archers chair­man Tony Har­ris said: “For ap­prox­i­mately the last 20 years we have been the guests of Headley Broth­ers, who kindly al­lowed us to meet, prac­tice and com­pete, free of charge, on their field at the back of their fac­tory.

“We have al­ways known that this in­for­mal ar­range­ment could end at any time.

“Af­ter the re­cent pur­chase of the site by Stones they have nat­u­rally been re­view­ing the op­er­a­tion of the site.

“Un­for­tu­nately the only ac­cess to the field is via the main fac­tory site, a lo­ca­tion where heavy equip­ment, in­clud­ing fork­lift trucks and HGVs, op­er­ate.

“Af­ter con­sul­ta­tion with their in­sur­ers and be­cause of the lim­ited ac­cess they have re­gret­tably in­formed us that we can no longer con­tinue to ac­cess the field or the site in gen­eral.

“Stones have been very kind in al­low­ing us to con­tinue to store our equip­ment un­til such time we find a new home.

“This is a de­ci­sion that Ash­ford Archers fully un­der­stands and ac­cepts with­out ques­tion.”

The club was first formed in April 1969 and af­fil­i­ated to Archery GB, the na­tional gov­ern­ing body of Archery in the UK.

In­door archery ac­tiv­i­ties, which gen­er­ally take place dur­ing the win­ter months, re­main un­af­fected, and the in­door shoot­ing venue is un­re­lated to the out­door venue.

Stones Ash­ford was con­tacted, but had not re­sponded to a re­quest for com­ment be­fore we went to print yes­ter­day (Wed­nes­day).

What do you think? Write to the Ken­tish Ex­press, or email ken­tish­ex­press@thek­m­

Ash­ford Archers mem­bers must give up their out­door tar­get range at the Stones site

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