Anger over green threat

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CROWN green bowlers have been left ‘upset and angry’ after funding for one of their two greens was withdrawn - despite it not being threatened in original proposals for Sheffield Council cuts.

The council initially announced funding to cover the running costs of 13 greens was to be axed to save £74,000, but the plans were changed after an agreement with Sheffield Park Bowls Association.

Instead, nine council-owned sites which have two greens are to lose funding for their second green, while the association has agreed to a £10 increase, to £55, in players’ annual season-ticket prices.

However, members of Hollinsend Park Bowling Club, Gleadless, are furious after being told one of their two greens, which was not included in the original cuts, would lose the £5,000 it receives each year for running costs.

Dave Tipper, club general secretary, said: “We’re one of Sheffield’s larger clubs and are concerned at the late change in the association’s closure selection criteria.

“With 80 members playing in 23 teams each week on both greens in Hollinsend Park, club officials were not surprised when their name was not on the original list of clubs to lose their second green.

“However, following agreement by clubs to raise the season-ticket price and a meeting with council officials, the number of green closures was reduced to nine - but now included our second green.”

Mr Tipper said another club had been granted a reprieve for its second green, despite only 14 players using it once a fortnight.

But he said: “We will not let our second green close.

“We now have to find £5,000, which will be difficult because our members are mainly teenagers and pensioners, but we do not want to lose it.”

Mr Tipper said he had asked the association what criteria had changed so his club’s second green had its funds withdrawn, but has not received an answer.

Robert Jackson, association president, said: “In a public meeting about the cuts, Hollinsend said they had 23 teams playing and all used one green. When asked how many teams played on the second green, they said none.

“We agreed to reduce the number of greens reluctantly and the council will allow clubs to take over their maintenance, if they can cover the cost and find a contractor.

“Two have already done so, Whitely Woods and Meersbrook Park.”

Mr Tipper denied his club had said the second green was not used.