Bowlers at the centre of a controversial green battle have appealed for help.

They are calling for a wealthy backer to settle a six-month battle.

The plea from Newsome Bowling Club is the latest move in an ongoing dispute over use of the former Newsome WMC green, after current lease-holder Stewart Smith fenced it off to prevent entry.

While Kirklees councillor Andrew Cooper has condemned Mr Smith’s actions as “wrong”, the lease-holder says bowlers continuing to access the green are “trespassers” and “law breakers”.

He insists the bowlers are trespassing and causing criminal damage after cutting through padlocked gates.

The green has been used for bowling for 110 years and is currently under the ownership of liquidators Begbies Trainor Ltd, who were called in when the club went into administration.

Newsome bowlers gather at the locked gates at their club.

Mr Smith holds a two-year lease on the green, which he took up last year, and has also submitted plans for the former club building. He opened it as a pub called the Newsome Tap for a while but that has now shut and he has sought permission for a five-bed house. But he has hinted he may submit a new one to divide the club into flats.

But members of the bowling club are appealing for a wealthy benefactor to buy it off the liquidators in order to secure its use for bowlers. The club and green are on the market for £250,000.

READ MORE: Newsome bowlers cut their way through steel fence to access their green

READ MORE: The Newsome Tap pub opened in July - but it could shut and be made into a house

Bowling club secretary Jacqui Sullivan described it as a “window of opportunity”, while Clr Cooper said: “They just want to have the simple pleasure of playing bowls on the same piece of land bowlers have used for the last 110 years.

“Somebody out there could back the community and show that it isn’t always those who push people around who come out on top.”

But Mr Smith claims his rights over the land stand and has hit back at members campaigning for more access.

He said: “I have not done anything untoward, dishonest or wrong.

“I seem to be taking the blame for their demise. They have trespassed on my property.

“I will be exercising my right to buy the land.”

The bitter row began when Mr Smith closed the green off telling the club he had let them use it for a season.

The property developer has submitted a planning application which is waiting approval.

Video thumbnail, Newsome bowlers locked out
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