Council to push on with Newport bowling green closure

First published in News South Wales Argus: Photograph of the Author by

 NEWPORT council is pushing ahead with plans to end maintenance of two bowling greens in the city with clubs looking at whether they can take them over.

Councillor Debbie Wilcox, cabinet member for leisure and culture, has decided to go ahead with plans to "rationalise" the Caerleon and Glebelands bowling pavilions, used by seven clubs.

The five clubs at the two greens are looking at ways they can take the greens over and want a little more time to get their affairs in order, with Newport council expected to make its proposed changes from April 1.

However there may be flexibility about timing.

The council has argued it cannot subsidise the game of bowls to the level it has been - with the authority paying out £315 per member per season.

Clubs were given the option of taking over the greens themselves, or moving to remaining council run bowling greens at Belle Vue and Beechwood parks.

Ron Whitehead, secretary of St Julians Bowls Club which is based at the Glebelands, said if an agreement is not reached “it will be a disaster for bowls in Newport” with clubs lost.

How long the lease the clubs will get from the council is also of concern, and Mr Whitehead said clubs at the Glebelands want a long term lease of around 50 years.

Mike Jones, treasurer of Caerleon Bowls Club, said it would be difficult to organise fixtures if clubs moved to the other pavilions.

“We had a meeting of our club and discussed that wasn't an option - the only one open to us was self-management," he said.

“But we needed time to go into the costs of that.”

A Newport council spokeswoman said: “The council continues to discuss options with the clubs and will support them to achieve the best possible outcomes within the financial resources available.”

As well as stopping maintenance at the greens, the council is proposing to almost double season ticket fees - from £80 a season to £150, and from £48 to £90 for concessions.

The changes could save the authority £45,508.

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