Electric fence plan for bowling green

Up for development ?  The Swansea Gardens site.''C120074-1 Bog Swansea  Photo Louise Adams
Up for development ? The Swansea Gardens site.''C120074-1 Bog Swansea Photo Louise Adams

AN ELECTRIC fence could be installed to stop foxes wrecking a public sports site in Bognor Regis.

The low-voltage deterrent is being considered for the bowling green of six rinks at Swansea Gardens.

It has been demanded by bowlers. Site owner Arun District Council is considering the matter along with the site’s operator, Inspire Leisure.

The green is used by three bowling clubs – Pagham, Telepost and Bognor Beavers. – with some 110 members. It is surrounded by housing and has a chain link fence on its boundary with a footpath.

Peter Quilter, the Pagham club’s chairman, said: “What is happening to the green is absolutely terrible.

“I’ve been coming up here two or three times a week and there have been 10-20 holes each time. I’ve been filling them in but they are there again the next time I come here. The permanent solution would be an electric fence. Other greens in the area have one, though they are private sites.”

But Mr Quilter said action was needed now before the new season next April came much closer.

“The clubs will not have any members left if action is not taken soon,” he said. “No one will want to bowl here.”

Telepost vice-chairman Mike Kibby said: “We can’t bowl with these holes even when they are filled in.

“We’ve already lost two clubs from our fixture list for next season because they don’t want to come and bowl here. We also had an England women’s player who said she would give up bowling if she had to play on a green like this.”

The foxes began to damage the green last August. Until the end of the season in September, two rinks were always out of action because of their poor condition.

The bowlers believe the foxes dig up the ground for leatherjackets and flying ant larvae to leave the site pockmarked with holes. Inspire did provide a sonic sound emitter but this had only a limited effect on the foxes because its battery soon ran out.

Oliver Handson, the council’s greenspace contract and development manager, said a meeting would take place with Justin Simpson, Inspire’s outdoor recreation manager, at Swansea Gardens this week to consider the practical issues of putting in fencing and preparing cost estimates.

“Over the past 4-5 weeks, Justin has spoken to the chair of Pagham BC on many occasions regarding this issue,” he said.

“It has already been agreed between Arun and Inspire that we will look at electric fencing to keep the foxes off the green, neither trapping not shooting are ethically acceptable and would not provide a permanent solution, and the bowls club has confirmed it would be prepared to put some funding towards this.”

The green would recover before the new season began next April, he added.