Invite to sports festival "takes the mickey"

A BOWLS stalwart has claimed council chiefs are “taking the micky” after inviting his club to take part in a sports festival – two months after it’s due to be closed down.

Hove Park Bowling Club is one of the three sets of facilities Brighton and Hove City Council proposes to shut in April as it looks to cut costs.

The local authority, which also wants to shut five other greens, claims it cannot afford to keep on subsidising all the teams in the city.

But, just days after breaking the news, the local authority’s sports development team sent officials a letter informing them of “new opportunities”, adding it “looks forward to working with you in 2013”.

This included an invite to promote the club, which currently has 17 active members, at the council’s TakePart sports festival in June.

Club secretary Malcolm Burstow said: “They are rubbing salt in the wounds really.

“Us pensioners, we do not get a fair deal.

“The council says they look after maintaining the block but my wife and I have done all the work, including clearing the drains, for the past four years.

"They want us all to join other clubs.

"Well, I’ll do that but I’ll make sure it’s one outside the city so they don’t get any of my membership fees.”

A council spokesman said: “No decisions have been made on future funding for Hove Park Bowling Club.

"Councillors will consider the matter when they meet on Thursday.

“Our sports development team has written to hundreds of sports groups around the city inviting them to get involved in this year’s Take Part sports event.

“The team will be working hard in the coming months to ensure that the event is a tremendous success.”

As it looks to balance the books in the face of Government cuts, the council claims bowls’ membership in the city is falling.

Its plans will see three clubs with the smallest memberships close by April – Dyke Road Park, Hove Park, and Hove and Kingsway Ladies.

Five further greens will also not be maintained – two at Preston Park, two at Hove and Kingsway and one at Hollingbury Park.

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