MEMBERS of a Newport bowls club say their “community”

has been destroyed by plans to move them to make way for an artificial football pitch.

As reported last week, Newport Athletic Bowls Club, based at Rodney Parade, was closed after agreeing a deal with owners Newport RFC.

The move paves the way for a 4G pitch to be built on the current outdoor bowling green, to be used by Newport RFC, Newport Gwent Dragons and Newport County for training. It could also be used by the community.

But bowls club members say they were given little notice of the plans and are angry the club has been turfed out after more than 100 years at the site.

Lynne James, 70, who has been playing indoor bowls there for 16 years, said the city centre base was a good location for members, many ofwhomrely on public transport to get there.

Outdoor bowlers will now be forced to share facilities with Caerleon Bowls Club, which she says is inconvenient for many, or disperse and join clubs at the Glebelands, St Julian’s or Cwmbran.

She said: “We’ve just been dumped.

“It’s destroyed a whole community.

It’s survived the war and the Depression but can’t survive this.”

As previously reported, members of the outdoor club were consulted and agreed to relocate after compensation was agreed.

Club chairman Richard Ford said the move of the indoor club was “regrettable but inevitable”

after years of dwindling numbers meant the committee had to review its future year on year anyway.

He said: “It was unavoidable and we did it with regret but there is excellent alternative provision for the indoor bowlers at the Glebelands and I hope they will continue bowling either there or in Cwmbran.”