Crowtree closure leaves Sunderland bowls club homeless

Mike Davis Chairman of the Indoor Bowls Club at Crowtree Leisure Centre, which is being left without a venue after the closure of the Centre in April.

Mike Davis Chairman of the Indoor Bowls Club at Crowtree Leisure Centre, which is being left without a venue after the closure of the Centre in April.

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SUNDERLAND Indoor Bowls Club will lose its home of more than three decades when the season ends in April.

The club’s members have been told they will have to find a new home when Crowtree closes.

“We are homeless as of the end of April,” said chairman Mike Davis.

The club has about 400 members, with another 100 or so casual bowlers who use the facilities.

“The club has been in there for 35 years and we have known for a while that the Sword of Damocles was hanging over Crowtree.

“We have had numerous meetings over the last few years with senior officers of the council, portfolio holders and members of the cabinet and, until recently, we have been assured that no matter what happened to the centre, Sunderland Indoor Bowls Club would continue to exist and alternative facilities would be provided.

“However, we have had a further meeting at which it was made quite clear that there was no money available to do that.

“They did suggest we might go to play at Houghton, but that’s not really an option for lots of reasons, not least of which is we have a number of members who are elderly.”

Coun Mel Spedding said the council had offered to work with the club and the English Indoor Bowling association to help find a new home.

“There were efforts to look in the city centre for alternative facilities in terms of where they could put a bowling green down and operate as a club,” he said.

“But while there were opportunities in both the public and private sector, they felt they would need more information. We have had a fairly long discussion about where we need to go.”