Bowling greens fall victim to council budget cuts

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NINE bowling green lawns are to be axed by Sheffield Council as part of moves to save a total of £1.2 million from the parks budget.

The greens are all at sites where there is more than one lawn for bowls, and will cut the council’s maintenance bill by £74,000 each year.

Greens to be closed are at Meersbrook, Whiteley Woods, Hillsborough, High Hazels, Norfolk Park, Graves Park, Crookes Valley Park, Hollinsend and Greenhill.

The council said all nine have ‘low membership or usage levels’ and that it had decided to close the sites after discussions with the Parks Bowls Association.

Affected clubs have the option of self-maintenance of the affected greens as an alternative to closure.

Thirteen greens were originally set to be axed but, as part of the new agreement, the association has agreed to a £10 increase, to £55, in players’ annual season ticket price, which has helped towards saving up to four lawns.

The Association and its clubs reluctantly backed the proposals at a special general meeting, and the changes will be implemented with immediate effect.

Coun Leigh Bramall, Sheffield Council cabinet member with responsibility for parks, said: “The council faces many difficult decisions in order to find the level of savings required - and the decisions affecting parks are among the most difficult. I want to thank the Bowls Association for their constructive approach to finding a solution to the required savings.”

Robert Jackson of the Parks Bowls Association added: “The proposals were a big blow.

“But, after frank and full discussions, we are relatively pleased with the outcome.”