Backing for bid to make town ‘centre for bowls’

THOUSANDS of pounds will be spent in an effort to help Leamington become the bowls capital of England.

Warwick District Council will launch a £10,000 impact assessment in connection with a feasibility study in respect of Bowls England relocating its headquarters and the Men’s National Bowls Championship to Royal Leamington Spa Bowling Club at Victoria Park.

Approving the expenditure, which will be taken from contingency funds, the council’s executive committee discussed the prospect of the relocation at a meeting on Wednesday evening.

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Cllr Sue Gallagher (Con, Leek Wootton) said: “This is not our decision it will be a decision by Bowls England but it would be a real coup for us to have.

“When I first became portfolio holder for culture people were moaning about the state of the greens at Victoria Park but now the greens are excellent and the very thought that we may host the men’s championships and the very thought we may have the national headquarters here is just unbelievable.”

Councillors agreed the move would benefit Warwick district’s economy were keen to stress the importance of consulting residents living near the club and of working alongside the club itself to ensure they are “integrated” in the process.

At present the club hosts the Women’s National Championships while the men’s event takes place in Worthing where Bowls England’s administrative headquarters are currently located.

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Cllr Bill Gifford (Lib Dem, Leamington Milverton) said: “Ours are probably the finest bits of grass in Britain or even the world. These five greens are superb.

“Having looked at the greens in Worthing and with my ‘expert’ eye I’d say ours are much better than theirs which are close to the sea and have suffered from salt water.

“Leamington is the only place where there are five greens in central England, no other town can offer that and I would have thought if we play our hand correctly and with skill the Men’s Championships could move to Leamington and this would definitely make Leamington the centre for bowls in this country.”

A recommendation for the relocation will be made at a Bowls England meeting in November.