Burnley Council hits back at claims it is neglecting crown green bowling clubs

Burnley Council has hit back at claims it is neglecting crown green bowling clubs after a club secretary voiced his concerns about the upkeep of greens and pavilions.
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Secretary of Lowerhouse Bowling Club Tom Wilkinson says work has been ignored on the pavilions at his own club and at Causeway Bowling Club, Towneley. He also went on to say that clubs who chose to maintain their own greens with the help of council funding, have had it taken away from them.

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There are up to 2,000 bowlers in the Burnley area, and Mr Wilkinson is worried that these people could lose a vital part of their life.

Lowerhouse Bowling ClubLowerhouse Bowling Club
Lowerhouse Bowling Club
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Mr Wilkinson said: “It’s a vicious circle at the moment. Burnley Council produced an article called the ‘Playing Pitch Strategy’ in 2015/16 saying that action was needed on Lowerhouse Bowling Club pavilion but nothing has been done since then.

“Burnley Council own our greens and we lease them off them and used to receive an annual grant to self-maintain them.

“Then this was passed to Burnley in the Community but that didn’t continue and, for the last few years, we haven’t got any funding. Then we are having to pay for things like emptying the grass clippings ourselves, for the land we self-maintain for the council.

“I feel the council is ignorant towards its crown green bowlers. Pavilions are being condemned and leaving local bowlers without facilities. It’s a community that has many older vulnerable players that need these facilities as a source of mental wellbeing.

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“The cost was minuscule in comparison to funds given to places such as Prairie Sports, and the pavilion costs would have been very small if not ignored for over 10 years.”

The council confirmed it did provide grants of £1,500 per annum to the four self-managed bowling clubs in the borough until around 2016 when the funding was taken over by Burnley Football in the Community. They provided the same level of grants until around 2020 when the grant programme ended.

A spokesperson for the council said: "Burnley Council works with Burnley’s 12 bowling clubs through the Bowls Partnership to maintain this important sport and it is unfair to assert that the council is ignorant of crown green bowlers.

"The roof of the bowls pavilion at Causeway End in Towneley has been repeatedly vandalised and repaired. Further repairs will be carried out week commencing 14th March to ensure that it is fit for the start of the bowling season and the council will be completely re-roofing this pavilion and installing protective fencing to prevent vandals climbing onto the roof at a cost of £24,000.

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"We are working with Lowerhouse Bowling Club regarding repairs to the pavilion and will undertake necessary repairs to keep the pavilion in useable condition, with support from this self-managed bowling club. We have also encouraged the club to compost the grass cuttings on site, rather than for them to pay to have them taken away.

"We are also working with our building management contractor Liberata to identify what other repairs are needed and will work with the Bowls Partnership on how these can be funded.

"The Prairie Sports Village was developed with grants from the Football Foundation and loans which are repaid from the income that is generated."