MP to give bowling clubs a helping hand

THE RIGHT HON Dr GORDON BROWN MP BOWLS OFF AT THE BEVERIDGE PARK BOWLING CLUB KIRKCALDY. 24 JUNE 11
THE RIGHT HON Dr GORDON BROWN MP BOWLS OFF AT THE BEVERIDGE PARK BOWLING CLUB KIRKCALDY. 24 JUNE 11
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KIRKCALDY’S MP has offered to help in the fight to keep bowling greens a part of the town’s future.

Gordon Brown MP visited the community facility in Beveridge Park last week to hear the club’s concerns over the cost of keeping it going in the coming years.

He has now written to councillors in Kirkcaldy as well as council officials asking them to reconsider the time scales proposed for the withdrawal of council subsidies for public bowling greens in the town.

The decision to withdraw Council funding by April 2012 was taken in November last year with the intention that responsibility for the running costs of greens in the Kirkcaldy area would be signed over via a lease to each club.

However clubs say the extent of the costs they are expected to take on were not made clear at that time and they are much more onerous than at first expected.

Beveridge Park Bowling Club is asking the council for more time, given the factors which need to be considered, including the club’s location within the park; its potential as a visitor attraction; its tradition of hosting events and tournaments for community organisations and how realistic it is to come up with a business plan within a matter of months.

During his visit, which coincided with Disability Fife’s Annual Bowls Championships, Mr Brown met with club officials.

He said; “These greens have been part of the park and available to the general public for over 80 years during which time tens of thousands of people will have enjoyed the facility. I appreciate that the council wants to move away from direct responsibility and I know that members of the club are keen to find a way forward but they need more time to work through the costs and to develop a sustainable financial plan that will ensure that the park’s future includes a bowling green.

He is asking council officials to make time to work with clubs and assist them to come up with a feasible business and development plan to help them achieve long-term sustainability.

Mr Brown told the Press; “This is a great facility that brings an additional enhancement to the town’s main park and it would be very sad to lose such a great facility.

“While the council has been putting reports to committee on this for the last two years, I am hoping they will take the time to sit down and work through the issues and reach agreement on the way forward.”

Colin Morrison, club president, told the Press it costs around £8000 per green per year to maintain, and on top of that they faced the cost of the lease, electricity and insurance.

“We only have 42 members at present, although many more people use the facility, but there’s no way our members could afford to cover those costs,” he said.