A SOCIAL club and playing fields site in Christchurch sold at auction for £370,000 – following a failed joint bid by two local councils.

The freehold for the East Christchurch Sports and Social Club land and buildings in Grange Road went under the hammer at an online auction earlier this month.

The lot had a guide price of £100,000 plus, but following a flurry of bids, it sold for more than three times this amount during the event held by London-based firm Allsop.

Prior to the bidding war, auctioneers said the listing had attracted "wide interest locally" and this proved to be the case.

Highcliffe and Walkford Parish Council and Christchurch Town Council had teamed up in an effort to secure the site.

However, the parish council chairman Cllr Bob Hutchings confirmed to the Daily Echo that the local authorities had been unsuccessful.

Cllr Hutchings said he was surprised by the level of interest in the sports and social club.

He said current tenants BAE Systems Limited have a lease on a peppercorn rent until 2031 with an option to extend it for a further 25 years, which could present limitations on redevelopment potential.

"We tried to buy it so it could be in public ownership and stay in public use," said Cllr Hutchings.

"It is a useful site for sports and recreational activities."

The overall site covers around nine-and-a-half acres, with hard-standing tennis courts, football and rugby pitches. It also features a club house with a bar, kitchen changing rooms and toilets.

The freehold for two other BCP sites were sold at the same auction event.

The Wimborne Road premises in Winton that is currently let in its entirety to Santander sold for £450,000, while a High Street site in Poole, which is let to Italian restaurant Ginali's on a new 10-year lease with two rented flats was secured for £410,000.