THE treasurer of an over 60s group has criticised Cookley Sports Club for tripling the fee they pay to hire a room, causing them to leave the venue.

Norman Dyer, of Cookley, said that the village's sports club committee had imposed so many conditions and increased the fees so much that the Over 60s Club had to move their fortnightly meetings to The Eagle and Spur pub.

He added members felt "frustrated" that they were being asked to pay £30 for use of the club's bar area for two hours, when it costs £50 to hire the room for the whole day.

David Bareford, secretary of the Village Hall and Playing Fields Association, said the Over 60s Club had paid the same price for decades and the sports club needed to raise the price in line with inflation.

Mr Dyer said: "They’ve literally shut the door on us. They’ve put that many obstacles in the way. I said we couldn’t pay £30 as otherwise our members couldn’t have our Christmas party."

The Over 60s Club, founded in 1964, moved into the new Village Hall and Cookley Sports Club in 2011 and agreed to pay £10 to hold their meetings in the sports club's bar area.

Each member pays £1 per meeting and 50p for a raffle which goes towards end of year events.

Mr Dyer added: "We had no trouble until October [last year] and they said from January we had to pay £30 and empty the cupboard we use in the kitchen which we've had right from day one.

"They said they would put it in writing but I never received the letter so we carried on as normal. I paid £130 at the beginning of the year for 13 meetings over six months and it wasn't until they cashed my cheque that they sent me a letter with the new conditions.

"They're saying we've got to have bar staff, we've never had bar staff. That's just another way of turning the screw to try and get rid of us.

"It's been very frustrating for all our members."

Mr Bareford said that the fee was increased to cover the club's costs.

He added: "They had been having it [the room] at an uneconomical rate for 20 years. We have tried to accommodate them but they were not prepared at all to contribute.

"There's quite a lot of cleaning to do after them. They don't leave it in a state that they found it in so we have to pay cleaners."

Wyre Forest District councillor for Cookley Chris Nicholls said: "I'm very sad that this situation has arisen between two highly respected village communities.

"I've every confidence that a resolution can be found through dialogue to the satisfaction of both parties."