South Tyneside bowling greens in line for council cuts

Bowling greens could pay the price of council cuts
Bowling greens could pay the price of council cuts

Bowling clubs across South Tyneside could be charged for the council maintaining their greens under new cost-cutting measures.

Charging clubs to cut the grass at public greens is an option being considered in a review of the authority’s finances.

It is understood that the council is looking to save £100,000 a year from its maintenance budget for bowling greens.

The review or services follows a number of moves already taken by the local authority in a desperate bid to save money.

Green bin waste charges have been introduced while community centres will no longer by funded by the council from April 1.

There are public-run greens across the borough including at Hebburn Park, Whitburn Park, Marine Park and Cleadon Park.

Coun Ed Malcolm

Coun Ed Malcolm

The council says it is carrying out review of the options available and that it wants to ensure these community facilities continue to be provided in a “sustainable way”.

It says the cuts are being forced on after the Government cut its grant by almost half since 2010.

One Labour councillor, who wished not to be named, said: “We seem to be losing all of our green spaces. Community centres are already at risk and now it’s bowling greens.

“We need to be thinking long term. What is going to be the impact on people’s health and wellbeing if we keep losing spaces like this.”

David Wilson, secretary of South Tyneside Bowling Association, said he has regular meetings with the council and was aware of the review.

He said: “If you look around the North East, a lot of the areas are charging for maintenance now.

“It costs about £10,000 a year just to maintain one green.”

Coun Ed Malcolm, lead member for innovation and resources at South Tyneside Council, said: “As a consequence of government cutbacks in financial support, the council must consider new methods of delivery to provide sustainable services for the people of South Tyneside.

“The government has cut its grant to the Council by almost half since 2010 and we have had to find saving totalling £145m with further reductions planned.

“As a result, we are having to review the way bowling greens are maintained.

“We are reviewing a number of options that are available to us to ensure that these community facilities can continue to be provided in a sustainable way.”