ANGRY bowlers have condemned a Kirklees Council decision to axe indoor greens from the planned new Huddersfield Sports Centre.
Council leaders have decided not to include bowling rinks in the planned centre at Springwood as they try to save almost £1m off the budget.
But the move has angered hundreds of bowlers who enjoy the sport on the current Sports Centre indoor rinks.
The rinks are home to many clubs and leagues throughout the week.
And the bowlers claim they were promised a “like-for-like” facility at the new centre.
Bowler Harold Hick said: “Bowlers, many of whom are pensioners, have been seriously let down by Kirklees Active Leisure and the council.
“Ever since the proposed new sports centre was mooted, the bowlers were assured they would be catered for at the new centre.
“We have now been told council officials have turned their backs on the local bowlers by eliminating the promised indoor flat green from their plans.”
Council officials said bowlers could use either Whitcliffe Mount, in Cleckheaton, or the indoor bowling green at The Dome, off Leeds Road.
But bowlers have countered by pointing out that Whitcliffe Mount is inaccessible for many and is also heavily used already by Spen Valley bowlers.
And, as Mr Hick said: “The Dome is a crown green bowling facility.
“It is a totally different sport – it’s like asking a rugby league player to take up rugby union”.
The protesting bowlers claim that income from the current indoor rinks tops £15,000 every six months.
They have 250 players taking part in veterans competitions from Monday to Thursday, 140 bowlers in the evening leagues over the same days and up to 50 members from the Huddersfield Indoor Bowling Club at weekends.
The club was formed in 1973 and has produced many top players, including England internationals Robert Hitchen, Jack Dyson and Michael Hick.
Mr Hick, who is secretary of the club, said: “We know that Tesco is involved in the Sports Centre plans, as they want to use the site and we cannot believe they will allow this to happen.
“A lot of the bowlers at the Sports Centre each week use it as a form of exercise and now we have a council who wants people to stay at home and vegetate.”
Kirklees leader Clr Mehboob Khan said: “Re-examining the sports centre project is the right thing to do.
“Unfortunately, due to the government’s attack on local authority funding, we have no choice but to scale back on certain facilities – but we will still deliver a tremendous scheme with a leisure offer for all the family.”