SPORTS clubs and community groups across Tendring could be put at risk in a cash-saving shake up that could see them told to buy up or move out.

The move will affect groups who use Tendring Council-owned facilities and are currently part of the Caros - community asset rent off setting - scheme.

A report from the council’s corporate management committee says Caros scheme groups should be approached and asked to buy freeholds or relocate in a bid to cut costs and “rationalise assets”.

But Harwich councillor and Tendring’s Labour group leader Ivan Henderson has raised major concerns about the future of much-needed clubs if it goes ahead.

“They are saying ‘buy it and if you can’t afford to buy, it we will relocate you.’ “What about the Park Pavilion, they have thousands of footfall every year, they run all sorts of clubs we say we need. They have fitness clubs and groups for the elderly with hot food.

“Groups are all struggling financially and bidding for the same pot of cash.

“I And if you are selling all of the community assets such as sports facilities and community centres, where else can the groups go?

“The list of the groups that use these sites is huge, it’s going to be a big issue and cause a lot of concern.”

Launched in 2008, the Caros scheme meant some groups only had to pay £150 a year to rent buildings. But in 2011 a controversial decision was made the scrap the discounts prompting major concerns clubs would have to close. Then in 2015, groups in the Caros scheme were asked to pay at least £500 towards their rent.

Some of the groups previously affected included Clacton and Gunfleet Sailing Clubs, Kirby Bowls Clubs, Clacton Sea Cadets, Harwich and District Community Association, Harwich Guides and Dovercourt Sea Scouts.

Carlo Guglielmi, Tendring’s portfolio holder for finance and corporate resources, said: “The Caros scheme is very unfair and it will be reviewed at some stage.

“The cost to the council is £40,000 a year.

“I have made the decision not to allow any new applications for the scheme.

“But nothing will happen in the next few months, I don’t know if we will set up a working group to look at it. But we are not going to kick people out.”