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Worthing could lose top bowls event
Worthing is set to lose the right to host a national sporting competition it has held for more than a quarter of a century.
The Board of Bowls England has recommended its members to vote for the Men’s and Women’s National Championships to be staged in Royal Leamington Spa from 2014.
A vote involving the 35 regional associations will take place at the end of November, which could see the end to the championships being held at Beach House Park, Worthing, from 2013.
Earlier this year, members of the national bowls group had asked for a study to look into a more “central” venue for the championships.
Bowls England’s chief executive, Tony Allcock, had previously said members had raised concerns about the cost of parking and accommodation in Worthing.
Bryan Turner, Worthing Borough Council deputy leader and head of tourism, said the loss of the bowls was not a “death knell” for the town, which has been the home of the national championships since 1974.
He estimates it is worth just one-hundredth of the town’s £100 million a year tourist industry.
He said hotels and guest houses would now have time to readjust their marketing and business strategy to cope with the loss.
Vic Sherwood, president of Sussex County Bowling Association, speaking in a personal capacity, said he was disappointed that Worthing might lose the championships.
He said: “A lot of local businesses will be disappointed because they get an awful lot of trade during the summer.”
Coun Turner said he did not believe that parking costs or the facilities were a factor in the decision, but that it was based on county bowlers from the north of England unhappy at travelling hundreds of miles each year to Worthing.
He added: “It will be a blow but it’s not a death knoll for our tourism and I don’t think it will be the end of the world for anyone.”
But Richard Margaroli, partner at the Ardington Hotel in Steyne Gardens, said that about 40 guests a night would stay at his hotel because of the championships.
He said: “I think the councillor is downplaying the championships’ significance.
“I don’t think anybody will close as a result but in terms of loss of revenue and profitability for that month it will make a severe dent.”
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