MEMBERS of Midhurst Bowling Club fear town council objections to plans for housing on their current June Lane site are a serious setback to their dream of building new facilities.
Affinity Sutton has applied for eight homes on the bowling club-owned site. If this goes ahead, the club will be able to fund a move across the road and build a new pavilion and bowling green.
The plan will be decided by the South Downs National Park but the town council has objected on the grounds of over-development and inadequate parking.
June Barnard, secretary of the bowling club, said: “Rejection of this application made by Affinity Sutton seriously puts in doubt any possibility of Midhurst Bowling Club moving to the playing field to share the site with Midhurst Tennis Club. Both clubs need each other to make this work and sadly the town council does not appear to have taken this into account.”
She urged town councillors to reconsider their objection: “This is the one opportunity for Midhurst Bowling Club to improve its facilities and attract new members. This is a typical ‘new build’ and a precedent has already been set by the ‘Montagues’.
“Moving the bowling club to join the tennis club on land that has a restriction limiting it to sporting use must be an asset to both clubs, the community and the town.
“Other sporting clubs in Midhurst have looked at the playing field in June Lane and deemed it unsuitable for their sport. However it is an ideal site for the tennis club already in situ and for the bowling club to improve its facilities.”
Midhurst Bowling Club realised as long ago as 2009 it could not guarantee the future of the club with its present facilities, she added.
“It believes potential new members are discouraged by lack of parking, difficult steps access and too small a rink. In addition the buildings date from the 1930s and the changing and toilet facilities for the men are totally inadequate.
“When approached in 2010 to consider buying the playing field, the club had to decline due to lack of funds. However, when the convent site was sold to Affinity Sutton and they approached the club to sell, the possibility of money from the sale made it feasible to negotiate the purchase of part of the playing fields, too.”
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