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RAISED CONCERNS: Bowling Club urging local authority to do much-needed repairs

RAISED CONCERNS: Bowling Club urging local authority to do much-needed repairs

Pallister Park Bowling Club are calling for the council to improve the level of maintenance of the bowling green at the council owned club, Image: Ian Cooper/Teesside Live

Members of a Middlesbrough bowling club have raised concerns that Middlesbrough Council is running out of time to repair their bowls green before the cold winter months set in.

The Pallister Park Bowling Club is urging the local authority, which owns the green, to do much-needed repairs so it is in good condition for the start of the new season next April.

Club chair James Honeyman, 68, known to the other players as Jimmy, said the state of their green is embarrassing.

He added: “It’s just all dug up, it’s full of moss there are holes all over. The grass is not growing. People come here and we are ashamed. People say, ‘it’s a council one what do you expect’. You go to theirs and it’s like a billiard table.”

There are only two weeks left until the bowling green in Pallister Park needs to be put to bed.

Bowling Green

Holes in the Pallister Park bowling green, Image: Ian Cooper/ Teesside Live

“What you are supposed to do, before the bowls season starts, you wake it up and when the bowls season finishes you put it to bed, which means you feed it, weed it, scarify it (remove dead moss), and do any repairs that are required,” Denis Chilton, 70, the club’s treasurer explains.

He adds that you have to do it early enough to allow the new grass to grow before the season restarts next year.

The bowls season runs from April to September, however, according to club members, the council has suggested it won’t do the much-needed repairs until next spring, but players say that is too late.

They have even met with Middlesbrough Council’s director of environment and community services, Geoff Field, to raise the issues with the green.

James added: “It is no good living on empty promises, we need something doing with this. Sometimes they come across as if they just want us to pack it in, they just want it off their hands. They are putting every obstacle in our way to make us do this and it’s not on.”

The club, which has 32 members, pays the council around £1,000 per year in green fees – they pay £30 per player plus further money for ten away bowlers.

Bowls players said that the state of the green was not a new problem and that they’ve lost members as a result, which means less income for the council.

Denis added: “Over the last few years we have lost about 10 that have gone to other clubs because of this. I was thinking about moving somewhere else because of this but I have changed my mind.

“I did consider it. It’s so frustrating and all the members are our age and it’s a thing that gets them out. Most of the members are above 65 and it gets them out and a bit of exercise.”

Jan Saxton, 67, a current member and former treasurer at the club, added that it was one of the few forms of exercise that older people could do.

James also said that it allowed the players to socialise and bowlers from different clubs in the town, and beyond, travelled to compete.

He was also frustrated that they did not have any electricity or running water at the clubhouse meaning they couldn’t even offer people a hot drink.

While other clubs in the area, which are not run by the council, have fully licenced bars.

The club holds a community league on a Monday morning and sessions on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoon, and a Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday evening.

bowling

Chair James Honeyman holding the bowling balls with club members and Cllr Lee Garvey (first on right) Image: Ian Cooper/ Teesside Live

Councillor Lee Garvey, who represents Berwick Hills and Pallister, questioned whether the green would be in the same condition if it was in another part of Middlesbrough.

He added: “Is this like this because it’s in Pallister Park? We just feel like the poor relatives in Middlesbrough.

“Would this be like this if it was in Nunthorpe? I really don’t think it would be. It’s sad really.

“Just because it’s Pallister Park doesn’t mean it should be left. These guys put a lot of effort into the surrounding areas and effort into the club and they have been left down.”

Cllr Garvey said that the council needed to start taking responsibility for the bowling green.

A spokesman for Middlesbrough Council said: “The works required to the bowling green are of a specialist nature and we are looking to bring in contractors that are able to carry these works out on our behalf.

“Unfortunately, to date we have been unable to find anyone that is available to do this in the time frame we require, however, we are hopeful that someone can be found soon.

“We have always tried to work with the club to resolve issues that they have experienced. Pallister Park Bowls Club has a long-standing history at Pallister Park that we will continue to support.”

 

Words: Emily Craigie, Local Democracy Reporter


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