A CANOE club which finally secured a new home after a three-year search says it has faced more delays due to the district council not signing the necessary paperwork.

David Surman, youth development officer and trustee for Kingfisher Canoe Club, described getting Vale of White Horse District Council to sort out an access agreement with the Environment Agency, which owns its new Abingdon Lock base, as an 'uphill task'.

He said the situation was 'very frustrating' adding: "We agreed a lease with the Environment Agency 18 months ago but it was only in July that we discovered there was a hold up with the Vale legal team.

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"It means we can't sign the lease yet or apply for grants."

The club, and its youth division Pathfinders, was forced to leave their Abingdon home of 25 years at Wilsham Road in October 2017 after being given notice of eviction by the Army Rowing Club, with which it had shared the site.

A spokesperson for Vale did not address claims of a delay, instead stating: "We have reached an agreement with the Environment Agency which means Kingfisher Canoe Club will soon be able to access the lock via land at Rye Meadow.

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"As required by law, we’ve now published a notice to inform people of this 'intention to dispose of open space' and they have until September 12 to submit any comments. Following the conclusion of this period, if we don’t receive any legitimate objections, we will finalise the legal agreement with the Environment Agency and thereafter the club will be able to use the access route."

But Mr Surman said the club has been in this position before only for things to fall through at the last minute.

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Kingfisher had identified a ‘perfect’ new base in the northern corner of Rye Meadow, but its attempt to move there collapsed two years ago.

Planning permission for the site, which is owned by South Oxfordshire District Council but administered by Vale of White Horse District Council, was approved in October 2016.

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But in April 2017 the club was told that it would no longer be possible, legally, for the authority to provide a lease.

Proposals submitted to Vale by the club, which has around 140 members aged from 11 to 70, to build a combined storage hut and changing facility at Abingdon Lock island were approved earlier this month.

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It had been the last chance for the group after an ‘exhaustive’ three-year search looking at 28 possible sites along both banks of the Abingdon stretch of the River Thames.

The Environment Agency was contacted but was unable to respond before the paper went to print.

Kingfisher is hoping to raise an additional £20,000 to fund the building of the new base.

To donate to the club visit kingfishercanoeclub.co.uk