Bisley Shooting Ground (BSG) is a family owned clay pigeon shooting business run by father and son team Anthony and Alexander Roupell. The grounds are located within 3,000 acres of stunning Surrey heath and woodland just 30 miles from London and have become the largest sporting clay shooting grounds in the country; receiving praise and support from Olympians including Gold medallists Richard Faulds, Peter Wilson, Steve Scott and multiple World Champion George Digweed. The ground's focus is on offering the best experience for any level of shot, within a relaxed family atmosphere, set in beautiful surroundings that are painstakingly maintained by a team of loyal staff. We are lucky to have some of the country’s best instructors as part of our team, helping bring out the very best in everyone from complete novice to seasoned pros. The business has made it a mission to promote inclusivity with Young Shots and Ladies Shooting, as well as using the grounds as a platform to raise funds for many charitable causes.
Bisley Shooting Ground has two grounds on its Surrey campus. Cottesloe Heath for the truly bespoke experience for individuals or groups with industry-leading instructors, and Long Siberia, the country’s most versatile automated Pay & Play for the experienced shot.
Unfortunately all this is at risk as our landlord, the National Rifle Association (NRA), is refusing to honour a historic agreement and will not agree to renew BSG's upcoming 21 year lease.
We are extremely saddened and disappointed by this and are challenging the decision in the courts. We have tried to communicate openly with the NRA for years to reach a solution satisfactory to all, however they are resolute in wanting to take over our family business and run it themselves. The NRA Chairman commented at the 2019 AGM on 25th May that one of the reasons they wanted to take over the business was that, in his view, he "would rather that money comes to the NRA, rather than the shareholders of Bisley Shooting Ground. It’s that simple". He goes on to say that the NRA "don’t want to be held up because we have got a 21-year lease with somebody who is trousering (profit) at our expense". We consider this to be an extraordinary comment since the Roupell's bought the business and pay significant rent to the NRA, which the NRA is able to enjoy without taking any of the commercial risks of running the business.
Now, instead of honouring our historic agreements and maintaining the status quo, the NRA is planning on spending what we assume will be a huge amount of their funds to take over BSG's business. This is likely to involve closing the ground for months, to the detriment of users. Indeed, they have been very public with their intentions, hiring individuals for the takeover and erecting signs on Bisley Camp. We think NRA funds would be better used investing in the purpose of their charitable charter, promoting rifle marksmanship in protection of the Realm, while taking the rents with no commercial risk.
We have offered proposals to the NRA but have never heard a real response from them other than a blanket refusal to renew our lease. Unfortunately, this attitude seems to be in line with the NRA's history of taking an apparently aggressive stance with tenants, as we know they have been involved in numerous proceedings with other tenants, spending valuable charity funds on lawyers in the process. The most recent litigation against the Artists Rifles Clubhouse was documented in the national press. Thankfully the Artists Rifles won, but at great financial cost. Amongst other governance matters, we understand that this was cause for the NRA to be investigated by the Charity Commission and also have MP's asking for answers.
We remain confident that we have every right for BSG to stay where it is, and do not wish to bow down to what we see as NRA bullying tactics. As such, given the refusal of the NRA to discuss the renewal of our lease, we have had to start proceedings to protect our position and prevent them from entering the property until the matter is resolved in the courts. This is to protect our family business, and everything that the dedicated staff have built up at Bisley. We are pleased to have secured terms ensuring that we continue trading until all is resolved by the courts.
We have every confidence in the very strong legal team we have put in place and genuinely hope that this matter can be resolved by negotiation. Either way it is costly.
We are so grateful for the support that has already been shown to us. Several individuals have kindly mentioned wanting to support our legal case financially. As such we have created a funding page and are truly grateful for any donations, however big or small.
For those interested, the Telegraph article covering the Artists Rifles can be accessed here:
** The NRA has a history of aggressive behaviour. This is an interesting website revealing some alarming facts: www.savebisley.com
Fundraising for the GB Olympic Team.
Alexander & Anthony
- Sabine Moeller
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