Bowls: Members fight threat to Leeds’s bowling greens

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Members of Leeds’s council-run crown green bowling clubs are to gather for a crisis meeting.

Club committee members and players will be at the South Leeds Conservative Club on Thursday to discuss the City Council’s money-saving review of all its 71 greens.

The authority wants to save £150,000 on the cost of maintaining greens and subsidising players.

There are 4,000 people playing bowls in Leeds, but the City Council has said membership is falling.

It has proposed:

‘Eliminating surplus greens’ where a club has more than one;

Providing a £1,900 grant to each club for committees to use towards upkeep of greens;

Drawing up an individual agreement with each club to find ways to reduce costs;

Merging clubs with smaller memberships of 50 or less; and

Closing greens – as a last resort.

The consultation period is open until May 31. Andrew Dewhirst, chairman of Leeds and District Crown Green Bowling Association, said members had not been given enough time or information to respond properly.

A committee has been created to help find alternative and realistic ways to save money , but Mr Dewhirst is concerned their time is being wasted.

He said: “If Leeds City Council wants to sit down and seriously talk to us, and consider alternatives then great, but without more information we don’t know if our proposals are even viable.

“They are being economical with the truth. There are more than 3,500 matches scheduled to be played on these greens this summer. The problem is the City Council has not kept up to date with realistic charges and it’s come to a head.”

A City Council spokeswoman said the authority encouraged active lifestyles and it would take all views into account.