Bowlers are stepping up their campaign to save their club from Kirklees Council’s axe.

Cabinet members ruled earlier this month that indoor bowls will not feature in Huddersfield’s new £36m sports centre with the area earmarked for the bowlers becoming a larger fitness suite.

The decision has been called-in for scrutiny, with a meeting planned for August 5.

Bowler Marie Nicholson has spoken out about the upset bowlers feel at being led on by the council and Kirklees Active Leisure.

They were assured in March they remained part of the plans, but bowlers had heard from a number of sources that indoor bowls was being axed. After repeated denials it was only this month Kirklees confirmed there was no room for them.

 

The Meltham mother also hit back at an implication they do not meet future sporting needs, saying their youngest club member aged 14 plays against those in every decade from their 20s to almost 90.

Her own sons, twins Barry and Steven, aged 35, represented Huddersfield in the sport and also won medals at the Special Olympic Games.

Bowlers and twin brothers Barry and Steven Nicholson of Meltham
Bowlers and twin brothers Barry and Steven Nicholson of Meltham
 

“We feel disappointed and not listened to,” Mrs Nicholson said. “But I think we feel most disappointed about being lied to and led to believe we were part of the plans when we weren’t.

“They have not spoken to us, they have not come to us with any ideas, they take the membership for the gym and it’s money in their pockets, it doesn’t matter if people actually use the machines.

“I was there on Tuesday, there were no more than six or seven people in the fitness area, they haven’t offered us the chance for membership, they haven’t spoken to us about any option which is disappointing.

“And because we believed them, members bought new equipment, bowls cost £160 for basic, shoes at £20-plus, T-shirts are £18. It’s expensive and we spent it because we thought we had a future home.”

Her sons Barry and Steven were interested in athletics as youngsters but took up bowls with parents Marie and David.

“It was something we could do as a family, but also something they quickly enjoyed and were very good at,” she said.

“A few years ago Peter O’Neill was one of the councillors to give them and others with special needs a grant from a Kirklees faith group to invest in equipment for their sport, he was very nice then but when he read the report out I couldn’t relate to him.

“There was so much in the report that was wrong, we know the figures, we know how many people pay each week and we know their figures are wrong.

“Then he said about the centre being for a different generation’s needs, by 2020 one in five people will be aged over 65, don’t disregard their needs.”

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