Wimbledon bowling club set to close after 100 years
Merton Council has told Wandgas Bowls Club it will be unable to continue to fund the group after this year’s season
A bowling club with nearly 100 years of history is to close because of a lack of funding.
Merton Council has told Wandgas Bowls Club it will be unable to continue to fund the group after this year’s season.
The club is situated at Dundonald Recreation Ground next to Dundonald Primary School, which is itself subject to a controversial planning application to expand .
Bob Enever, captain of the club, said: “We had a letter at the start of the season that said irrespective of the planning permission being obtained they didn’t see any reason or way they could carry on funding us because we are such a small club and we don’t pay enough.”
Club members pay £75 each for membership to the club for its five-month season each year and £24.50 in green fees for official matches.
But with just 14 currently active members, the club pulls in just over £1,000 a year, nearly £6,000 short of the £7,000 needed to maintain the green.
Mr Enever said: “We are all very upset about it because it’s been there some time.
“It’s happening all over the country.
“Sutton has closed two clubs this year and Croydon have taken on most of their own funding.
“We are not going to stop bowling but there will be a bowling group that is lost forever.”
The club was founded in 1921 by British Gas, which ceased funding the club over a decade ago.
The majority of Wandgas members have said they will join nearby bowling clubs.
Councillor Andrew Judge, cabinet member for environmental sustainability and regeneration, said: “Bowling greens cost a lot to maintain so it is vital they are well used.
“A bowls match requires between 12 and 16 home players, yet there are only 13 members of both sexes at the Wangas bowling club.
“Consequently, they have found it difficult to arrange matches and the green is underused.
“This doesn’t offer value to council taxpayers, so we have made the decision to close it and spend the resource on other greenspace provision.
“Members of the Wangas Bowling Club have been invited to join the Merton Park Bowling Club close by and I understand more than half have already accepted this invitation.”