Bowlers unite as they seek to stop sell-off

Nick Gibb alongside members of of Pagham and Telepost Bowling Clubs on Swansea Garden bowling green.
Nick Gibb alongside members of of Pagham and Telepost Bowling Clubs on Swansea Garden bowling green.

STRONG opposition to the proposed sale of a Bognor Regis green space has been voiced.

Bowlers used a meeting held in the bowling club pavilion to air their passionate views against the possible sale of Swansea Gardens.

MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton Nick Gibb joined the group, which included the president, chairman and members of both Pagham Bowling Club and Telepost Bowling Club.

Peter Quilter, chairman of Pagham Bowling Club, said: “The council should not even consider selling this land that has been used for both tennis and bowling for over 60 years.”

The meeting, held on October 19, was called to discuss the implications of Arun District Council’s draft strategy for leisure and cultural provision.

Club member Richard Read said: “Bognor Regis encourages tourism and sports facilities, which are a vital part of the town’s future development.

“Short-term decisions in the sale of this green open area must be opposed at all levels, as it can never be replaced.

“In fact the council should be encouraging more people to use the sports facilities offered at Swansea Gardens by better signage and advertising.

“We have new houses being built around Bognor with an increasing population and they are talking about a scheme to reduce green and sports areas in this Olympic year.”

As part of the draft strategy it looks like the bowling green and tennis courts at Swansea Gardens are destined to be axed, with bowlers expected to use the greens at Waterloo Square – where Arun says there is space.

“There are only five green areas left in Bognor now:
West Park, Marine Park Gardens, Swansea Gardens, Waterloo Square and Hotham Park.

“To sell any of them for building infill is equivalent to selling off the family silver.

“Trying to amalgamate six bowling clubs onto the greens at Waterloo Square would be impractical,” said Derek Levy, county bowling delegate.

“There would be too many fixtures and the question of car parking alone would prove very difficult and expensive,” added Mr Levy.

Local resident Tessa Burrington told Mr Gibb she spoke for many local residents when she said it would be a crime to consider building on this area, and that the three all-weather tennis courts were the only ones situated near to the town centre and used by many younger people in the summer months.

“This is a green oasis in a built-up area and used by many residents to walk through and enjoy,” she said.

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