0 Greens scheme leaves bowls clubs in North East Lincolnshire fearing for future

Bowls clubs in North East Lincolnshire are fearing for their futures amid reports they could be forced to take over the maintenance of council-owned greens.

Several bowls players have contacted the Grimsby Telegraph to express concerns after hearing that the council is asking clubs to maintain its greens.

Although North East Lincolnshire Council told the Telegraph that it would be undertaking a review of outdoor sporting facilities to identify cost-saving measures, it insisted that there were currently no plans to change the arrangements for the upkeep of bowling greens.

However, three bowling clubs that play on council-owned greens told the Telegraph that they have been asked by a council officer if they would be interested in taking over responsibility for maintaining them.

But many bowlers fear their clubs will not survive if the council relinquishes its green keeping role.

Several clubs have also criticised the condition of the greens this year, saying they are in a much worse state than in previous years.

However, the council has denied claims that the numbers of green-keeping staff have been cut.

Alan Brown, the secretary of Vikings Bowls Club, which plays at Sussex Recreation Ground, said he had held two meetings with council staff at which the possibility of taking over the maintenance of the green had been discussed.

He said: "The council has asked us if we would be willing to take over the green. The problem is a lot of our members are over 60 and they are not physically able to maintain it.

"I am getting one or two quotes to see how much it will cost to get someone to maintain the green for us. If we can afford it I think we will be better off doing it, but it all depends on what the members decide."

Norman Cheeter, secretary of Haverstoe Bowls Club, which plays at Haverstoe Park, said his club had also been asked if it would take over maintaining the green.

He said: "Our original groundsman has said he will cut the grass for us, but there's more to it than that. You have got to apply chemicals four times a year and then there's the expense of mower repairs.

"At the moment I'm getting the views of the members and of the other clubs.

"I know of one other club that is thinking about it but is not keen. Do we become one of the first clubs to break away and go private or do we all wait and stick together? That's the quandary we are in."

Brenda Land, secretary of Waltham Bowls Club, which plays at Sussex Rec, said: "It was suggested to us at a meeting with the council. They told us we would have to do this ourselves or we would lose it."

Peter Croft, secretary of Grant Thorold Bowls Club, which plays at New Waltham, said: "The council hasn't spoken to me but I think they are going to ask us to do something that we are not capable of.

"We have got 25 members and the green needs cutting twice a week.

"It costs £20 a time and we can't afford £40 a week."

Article sourced from :-This is Grimsby

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