Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting DST to 80360 or email us
Bowls club's future at Billingham Forum hangs in the balance
A BOWLING club threatened with eviction from its home of almost 50 years has managed to secure a three month stay of execution.
Billingham Forum Indoor Bowling launched a petition in a last ditch attempt to save it from closure and their campaigning appears to be having an effect, as consultation continues with Stockton Borough Council and Tees Active.
The club, which was told it needed to find a new home by September, has been threatened by a plan to generate additional revenue for the Forum which would see the gym being extended and encroaching onto the bowling area.
As a result, the club, which has more than 200 members, could be forced to relocate to Thornaby if they want to keep it going.
Bowling club president Barbara Batey said: “When they contacted us we were really angry as we had just finished all the preparations for the coming season which is due to start in September.
“We have been negotiating with Tees Active and they have agreed to let us stay until December to give us a chance to find an alternative.”
Dave Eden, who launched the petition because his dad, Mark, is a member, said: “This not about improving facilities at the centre it is about maximizing profits. The club could have nowhere to play by the first week of August and that is why we have set up the online petition.
“They have offered us the chance to play at Thornaby but most of the members are aged between 55 and 80 and getting there could be a problem for them.”
Councillor Ken Dixon, Stockton Council’s Cabinet member for arts, leisure and culture, said: “The redevelopment of Billingham Forum has been a huge success and the popularity of the gym in particular has exceeded our expectations.
“To meet this demand and make the most efficient use of the space available, we are exploring a proposal to extend the gym into the bowling area – the additional revenue generated from extra gym membership would not only cover the cost of the necessary works but also provide significant additional income year on year.
“We are discussing with Billingham Indoor Bowling Club the possible use of alternative venues, including Thornaby Pavilion, where superior bowling facilities are on offer.”
To sign the online petition visit www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-billingham-forum-indoor-bowls-club/
Comments are closed on this article.