BRADFORD Council has forced a sports club into liquidation for failing to repay a £10,000 grant for a rugby pitch which has still to materialise.

Queensbury Sports and Social Club Limited (QSSC) was wound up yesterday at a County Court hearing.

The Council said it was due to QSSC’s failure to pay back a Ward Investment Fund grant which it was required to return after it had not met the terms of funding agreement.

The cash was granted back in 2009 to create a pitch which would have formed part of a wider £700,000-plus amateur rugby league facility at Albert Road Recreation Ground in Queensbury.

But after yesterday’s court action, QSSC told the Telegraph & Argus that it did not receive the funding, which it said had been paid to Queensbury ARLFC ,and likened the Council’s move to “using a sledgehammer to crack a nut”.

Construction work on the ambitious project to provide changing rooms, a club room and pitches for amateur rugby league started in 2009.

The facility was 17 years in the planning and received substantial funding from both Sport England and the Council.

But in 2011, work on the clubhouse ground to a halt after money ran out.

At the time, the Council, which had contributed £160,000 towards the scheme, said the clubhouse had proved more expensive than planned and the funds had been used to pay for groundworks, foundations and the construction of the building to that point.

On top of that, work on the pitch had not begun and the Council said it was due to have further discussions with the rugby club to find a way forward.

Later in 2011, Michael Walls, then a Conservative councillor for Queensbury, looked into setting up a new community group to oversee the building as no work had been carried out on the site for around a year.

Work reportedly subsequently began on the training pitch, but in 2014 Bradford Council pursued QSSC for the £10,000 as it had not been completed.

Earlier this year, QSSC wrote to Sport England and the Council asking if they would be willing to work with the club to move Phase 2 of the clubhouse forward.

The club said it had also given consideration to handing the building back, but asked the Council to set out detailed proposals for its completion, with a usage strategy for Queensbury rugby.

After it received no response, another letter was sent to the Council which stated the club felt the best option was for the building to be handed back and again asked for proposals for its completion, along with a usage strategy for rugby.

The letter outlined the club had invested a “substantial” amount of funds into the project and it would be irresponsible to hand it back without knowledge of its future use.

A reply from the Council said the content had been noted, but said the club was contracted to build a clubhouse and facilities on the site in line with an award of grant letter signed in May 2008 and a lease agreement for Albert Road Recreation Ground signed in October 2008.

It added the required outcomes and terms and conditions were still applicable and the works still required completion. The club was asked to confirm its intentions to bring the clubhouse and playing pitches into use, as well as a full financial package and proposed timeline for the completion.

After yesterday’s county proceedings, the Council spokesman said: “Bradford Council remains committed to working with the local community to examine all options to deliver a sustainable facility for the people of Queensbury.

“Given the significant level of investment still required we will engage with all stakeholders to ensure we can create an affordable and practical solution that meets the needs of the community.

“One of our key priorities is to include playing provision for Queensbury ARLFC, enabling rugby league to return to the site.”

A QSSC spokesman responded: “Due to an administrative error representatives of both QSSC and Queensbury ARLFC failed to attend the initial County Court hearing.

“The outcome of the hearing was an inevitable fact of a due legal process that Bradford Council was able to pursue with unlimited financial resources against a voluntary organisation QSSC that had nothing. We will of course assist the official receiver in their duties.

“We remain very sceptical of Bradford Council’s commitment to this project as they and other stakeholders have constantly refused to enter into any formal dialogue to progress the project.

“This is a typical example of a David versus Goliath struggle using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. We hope that Bradford Council stands by its promises to deliver the scheme for the people of Queensbury.”

Councillor Paul Cromie, (Ind, Queensbury) said the Council, along with elected members, would now be looking for funding to finish the project.

A spokesman for Sport England said it would continue to work with the Council with the aim of providing a sustainable facility to meet the needs of the community.”

But Councillor Andrew Senior (Con, Queensbury) described the situation as an “unmitigated disaster”.

He said: “It should not have taken years to reach what I still consider to be a needlessly confrontational outcome between the club and the Council.

“Various stakeholders in the project are to varying extents responsible for this situation and it should have been possible to resolve the problem amicably a long time ago.

“I just hope that winding this company up will not delay the project further due to receivers carrying out their work.

“The people of Queensbury have missed out on sporting facilities through no fault of their own and I am hopeful that a clear picture of what the future holds for the site will emerge in the very near future.”

“I will now get my teeth into pushing things forward so that the people of Queensbury will finally receive some positive news about getting some sports provision."