BOWLING greens across Bolton could be closed as part of council cuts.
Town Hall bosses have laid out plans for working out which clubs might face the axe in a bid to save the local authority £20,000.
Chiefs say they currently spend £175,000 a year maintaining 28 greens and pavilions — but only get £17,039 in income from fees.
Around 1,500 bowlers used the greens in 2013, and the council has now agreed a “points system” to determine which ones will be closed.
But the news has been greeted with anger by Bolton’s crown green bowlers.
Christine Wareing, a member of Westhoughton Sports and Social Club, said her team plays matches at council-owned greens across the town.
She said: “I knew this was going to happen. Our club had a letter from Bolton Council wanting to know about our bowling green.
“They are taking everybody’s pleasure away — at Westhoughton Park the pavilion isn’t just used by bowlers. Pensioners go there to play dominos and cards.
“The council should leave the little man alone, and start at the top by cutting the fat cats’ wages.”
Cllr Nick Peel, the cabinet member for environmental services at the council, said it was not yet possible to say how many, or which, clubs will be affected, but a decision is expected by the end of the year.
He added: “We are going to base the decision around whether there is a double bowling green where one will suffice, and is there another green within a reasonable distance.
“The greens are expensive to run because it’s high maintenance to treat them properly.
“A third strand is whether there are voluntary groups that would be willing to take over the running of the club, where the alternative might be closure.
“It’s not the intention to just apply this bluntly — we will be speaking to ward councillors and any established bowling club concerned.”
- There are currently more than 230 crown green bowling teams in Bolton in numerous leagues, including Bolton and District Bowling League, Bolton Mills Bowling League, Bolton Conservative Bolton League and Bolton Parks Vets Bowling League.
- Every year it is estimated 1,470 bowlers use the council’s 28 greens.
- There are traditionally two greens per club — one for the men and one for the ladies.