Bowlers feel ‘let down’ over centre

Members of Falaise Bowling Association
Members of Falaise Bowling Association

BOWLS enthusiasts are fuming after claiming they have been cheated out of getting a brand new indoor bowling centre for their members.

Falaise Bowling Association said it was promised that a state-of-the-art facility would be built to replace the ageing current site in White Rock Gardens.

Dennis Moon, the association’s director, told the Observer that the idea was first included in Hastings Borough Council’s development plans back in 2004.

Four years later proposals were unveiled to build more than 100 new homes, together with an indoor bowls centre next to Horntye Park Sports Complex, with the bowling facility to be funded by a levy that the council can put on developers to set up recreational facilities, known as a Section 106 agreement.

This development was given the go-ahead in June this year and Mr Moon said the money from the agreement is now to be used to build a new 3G football pitch at William Parker Sports College.

He said the money had already been earmarked and promised to Falaise Bowling Association.

Mr Moon: “We want that £500,000 because the council ought to be funding this, as it is the council’s responsibility to honour its Local Plan from 2004, which said there would be a replacement bowls facility provided near the existing indoor bowls centre. The £500,000 is coming from the developers who want to build more than 100 flats on the land owned by Horntye under this Section 106 agreement with the council. We need a new centre and everything needs to be on the ground floor. A lot of our members are in their 80s and 90s.

“There is also nowhere for people to view bowls matches. We are also losing members because we have not got the right facilities. The council also put up our rent by 25 per cent this year, so it is now £20,000 a year.

“We have had to increase our prices to offset the fall in numbers. The feeling among us is more than resentment, as we feel let down.”

Kevin Boorman, spokesman for Hastings Borough Council, said: “Mr Moon seems to think that we have a legal commitment to replace the indoor bowls facility in White Rock Gardens. In the Borough Plan it is an aspiration but it is not to say that the money will be there.

“The issue with 3G football pitches at William Parker Sports College is a separate one and the Section 106 agreement is still under discussion, so nothing has been agreed yet.

“The whole position is complicated and complex and it would be good to meet with Mr Moon to talk it through and hope there would be a positive outcome.”