A “NEW era” has dawned for Close Park Bowling Club after they became the first in the borough to sign a new 25-year self-management agreement.

The club was set up in 1979 and this new move will see them based in the park until 2029, securing their position in Bury and Radcliffe’s bowling fraternity.

Club secretary Janet Hopwood said the committee and members were pleased to move forward in this way.

She added: “We are looking forward to inviting old and new members to join us on the route.

“The council are supporting us with infrastructure maintenance and officer guidance which will help us through the transition to full management so we are not doing it alone.

“New members and teams are welcome to come down and we have a disabled group of bowlers who use the green on non-match days – with contact details on the park notice board.”

Self-management of sports facilities was introduced by Bury Council around 15 years ago and has enabled clubs to become more autonomous, looking after their own facilities.

Councillor Jane Lewis, cabinet member for leisure, tourism and culture, said: “Close Park Bowling Club is a very forward thinking, pro-active club with the best interests of its members and the local community at heart, and this is a positive move towards maintaining bowling in the area.”