History and Role
West London Bowling Club Company Ltd (‘WLBC Ltd’ or ‘the Company’) was incorporated on the 16 July 1930. WLBC Ltd owns the freehold title to the land (and buildings) at the above address which it leases to the West London Bowling Club (‘the Club’). The Company grants usually a 5-year lease to the Club which therefore gives the Club all of the necessary rights to occupy the land and carry on the Club’s activities. This is a very common arrangement in situations where a Club (that is, an unincorporated association) occupies land and where it is a much more practical legal structure to have the freehold title to the land held by a single entity, i.e. a company. This has been the situation continuously since the 1930s as we understand it.
The lease is at a modest rent (currently £1000 per annum) and in years of particular hardship, such as when Covid hit or the initial years of the Club’s re-launch, the Company has either not demanded the rent or accepted a reduced rent. Under the lease, the Club is responsible for – effectively - all outgoings and charges in respect of the land – the lease is thus on a full repairing and insuring basis (i.e., the Club as tenant takes on full responsibilities in this regard). Again, this has been the situation for very many years, and it works well.
The Company’s interests and the Club’s are, naturally, completely aligned. The Company is effectively non-profit making; its role is to support the Club in its activities and cover its own running costs. Nevertheless, the Company as freeholder has separate responsibilities including the right to approve or refuse any developments on the land and the right and obligation to deal with adjoining landowners. Thus, in recent years the Company has taken the lead in dealing with a dispute with an adjoining landowner, at No 112 Highlever Road, regarding use of the accessway to the Club’s grounds. The dispute is currently in abeyance.
The Company’s shareholders are exclusively current members of the Club. Annually, the Company offers Club members of 2 years standing the opportunity to purchase up to 25 shares (at a cost of £1 each) in the Company. If a member leaves the Club their shares are cancelled or re-distributed, and the amount paid for the shares, usually, not refunded. It is the Company’s policy to ensure that the Company is owned by as many eligible, current Club members as possible, so that their interests coincide as closely as possible. In November 2022, there were 47 shareholders.
The Company has three directors.
Martin Hutchings (KC) – Chairperson
Martin is a lawyer practising from Chambers in Lincoln’s Inn who specialises in property litigation. Martin has been a member since the relaunch of the Club in 2014 and was instrumental in putting the Club’s lease on a secure footing. He has been a director and Chairperson since 2017.
Ruth Hillary (PhD) – Company Secretary
Ruth is sustainability and environmental consultant, a former trustee of the Westway Trust and was the first Chairperson of the Club from its relaunch in 2015 until 2021. She received a RBKC Mayoral award in recognition of her efforts to save and rejuvenate the WLBC. She has been a director of the company since 2017 and Company Secretary since 2022.
Jeannette Davidson – Director
Jeannette has been an educator for many years specialising in English and Modern Foreign languages and a member of the club since its relaunch. Jeannette has served on the Board of the Westway Trust and is very involved in local community organisations. She has held a number of positions at the Club including Club Secretary, has been a director since 2017 and is actively involved in all the sporting activities at the club.
The Company is mentioned in the Club’s Rules and has a nominated non-voting place on the Club’s Management Committee. Currently attendance at Club’s Management Committee meetings is undertaken by the Company’s Chairman or in his absence WLBC Ltd’s Company Secretary.