6 April 2016 – The National Rifle Association has taken direct control of Bisley Pavilion after incumbent operator Shaun Hopwood surrendered his lease early, the association has revealed.
“We are working up plans to bring the Pavilion to the fore for shooting at Bisley which will include exciting opportunities to develop new facilities for our members and visitors,” a statement signed by NRA chief exec Andrew Mercer and posted on the NRA website said.
It appears that anyone who has made an accommodation booking at the pavilion for the next few weeks will have it cancelled unless they confirm it with the NRA:
“Plans are progressing well to reopen the hotel accommodation in the next few days; all bookings need to be confirmed with the NRA Accommodation Staff prior to arrival. Arms fair traders and other regular users should contact Chris Dyers, Commercial and Operations Manager, to discuss their requirements,” said the NRA statement.
The Phoenix Arms Fair, due to take place at the same time as the NRA Phoenix Meeting, has reportedly been relocated to the Lord Roberts Centre.
UK Shooting News has heard from a number of whistleblowers that the NRA has been coveting the pavilion for years and trying to force Hopwood out.
A purported document leak a month or two ago revealed what appeared to be an ongoing legal battle being fought at Guildford county court, though the documents were not online for long enough to verify their provenance.
It is to be hoped that the NRA makes a better fist of managing the pavilion than it has of the Exhibition Hut, which, save an exterior coat of paint, has been derelict since the Muzzle Loaders’ Association of Great Britain was unceremoniously turfed out in 2013 as their lease expired.