EAST Thurrock United are bidding to take over a popular sports club left stricken by the sale of Coryton oil refinery.

The football club intend to sell their current Rookery Hill ground for “high quality” housing and buy the Pegasus Club on Herd Lane, Corringham, which is at the mercy of administrators following the demise of Coryton oil refinery.

Workers at the Pegasus, a private members club that served Petroplus workers when the company owned Coryton oil refinery, says it feels left in the dark. Since the refinery went bust in January, the future of the club has been in the balance.

But a consultation document put before Thurrock Council on Wednesday night revealed that the Pegasus club is a site earmarked for development along with East Thurrock’s current home-ground.

The report was passed by the council, meaning there will be a consultation on whether the green belt sites should be released.

It is understood however, that John Kent, the council leader, is against releasing the Pegasus club from green belt.

Thames Oilport, the consortium turning Coryton oil refinery, into a storage terminal have made a “substantial offer” for the club. 

A spokesman said: “If we are successful, we intend to put the land in trust to secure it as a community asset.”

The football club plan to continue operating the Pegasus as a community sports hub but also build a stadium on the site while their home ground would be developed into more than 100 houses.

Martin Hathaway, who manages the Pegasus club, is angry that Thurrock Council are discussing the club’s future when it is still at the mercy of PwC.

He said: “The Pegasus strongly objects that its future can be discussed by Thurrock Council without any prior notification or consuiltation from either the council or its officers.”

East Thurrock United admit the success of any bid hinges on the expectations of PwC, the administrators, the willingness of the Pegasus club and the support of Thurrock Council.

Neil Speight, the club secretary, believes a harmonious relationship between the two clubs could be an asset. But members of the Pegasus club say there has been no approach by East Thurrock United.

Mr Speight said: “Our aim as a progressive club is to grow our local community support and we believe that by becoming involved in the Pegasus Club we will be able to build upon its existing community links, improve facilities for those who come to our club and also work with people currently involved at the Pegasus to ensure the long term viability of the club in all its many sporting aspects.

“In the very long term that might see the creation of additional indoor facilities for such sports as basketball, badminton and gymnastics and other sports inspired by the summer’s Olympic legacy and in the short term by bringing innovation, enthusiasm and commitment to helping the community that is the Pegasus Sports and Social Club grow.”