Bowlers were left dismayed they no longer have a place in Huddersfield’s £36m sport centre.

Kirklees Cabinet members stuck to their guns, telling them funding cuts left them with no option.

It follows a turbulent time for Huddersfield’s indoor bowlers, who discovered last month that Kirklees wanted to remove facilities for them in favour of a bigger fitness suite.

A cross-party Scrutiny Panel advised Kirklees Cabinet re-look at their decision as it went against the council’s ‘presumption in favour of openness’ principle.

The Panel advised the Cabinet to engage in “open dialogue with bowlers ...regarding future provisions for bowlers”.

 

Yesterday council leader Clr David Sheard told them: “I passionately believe that we need some indoor bowls provision in Kirklees and we have got to find a way to do that.”

Bowlers packed Huddersfield Town Hall’s council chamber in a last ditch effort to save their facilities.

Marie Nicholson spoke of the “total injustice” saying: “Many of the people affected are over 55s, you as a council have a responsibility to these people to ensure that they keep active as often as possible. You should make room in the new leisure centre for everybody, nobody needs to be left out.”

Damien Talbot said the current gym is rarely full when they’ve visited, and they disputed Kirklees claims that it would take five days to remove the green for the hall to be used for other money-generating purposes.

Sportsman Jim Gillan branded the lack of consultation as “absurd” saying: “Don’t just look at the short term and KAL’s profitability”.

Marjorie White, an OWLS member, asked what the older generation was to do now indoor bowls would not have a home in Kirklees.

Clr Peter O’Neill, Cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said there were 25 bowling greens in Kirklees. Bowlers shouted that it was a different sport.

Clr Amanda Stubley, Labour Batley East, and Clr Cahal Burke, Lindley Lib Dem, urged Cabinet to keep indoor bowls facilities.

Clr Andrew Cooper, Newsome Green, told Cabinet to be upfront about the financial implications.

Clr Sheard said he wished they could reveal the figures, which are commercially sensitive, and agreed they should be clear that money was a reason behind the decision.

Cabinet agreed unanimously to remove indoor bowls from Huddersfield’s new sports centre. Clr Jean Calvert said they would meet with the bowlers to discuss future options.