Search

Bowls club roll out rent increase fears

PUBLISHED: 16:47 26 March 2008 | UPDATED: 14:33 25 August 2010

BOSSES at a bowls club say the 32-year-old facility will be forced to close unless the council reduces their rent of nearly £40,000 a year, writes Elizabeth Thornton.

BOSSES at a bowls club say the 32-year-old facility will be forced to close unless the council reduces their rent of nearly £40,000 a year, writes Elizabeth Thornton.

Peter Spitty, Stone Lodge Bowls Club company secretary, said they are running at a loss and cannot afford the £39,000 rent for two more years.

Dartford Borough Council announced last month that it is giving the indoor club in Cotton Lane, Dartford, a £25,000 grant to boost membership. However, the 54-year-old said the one-off council funding would not keep the club alive and a rent reduction was the only long-term solution.

He said: "We haven't heard anything from the council at all. I don't know anything more about the grant than what's been put on the press release.

"We will have to shut down in a year or two if we don't get help. We are using our reserve funds to pay for maintenance work on the building and that will run out soon."

Mr Spitty, of Carlton Road, Erith, requested the rent be reduced to £10,000 a year in a council scrutiny committee meeting in October and has wrote letters since, but said the council has not responded.

Club member Ken Holliday, 77, of Northfleet, said: "It is absolutely ludicrous to suggest that £25,000 over three years will save this club. We need a rent reduction.

"The club is very important to me. We are all elderly people who will be completely lost without the club and I don't think the council gives two hoots.

"When we were solvent we did a £250,000 refurbishment. The rentable value of the building, the parts of the building we built, are the only good bits in it!"

Despite the plea for a reduction, council leader Jeremy Kite told the Times that he was surprised by the reaction from the club. He said: "I am quite despondent because Stone Lodge has been given the single biggest grant the council has ever given to a sports club. £25,000 is a huge amount of money. With that much they should be able to invest in the club and attract more members, so they can pay their rent.

"The fact is they are paying the rentable value of the building.

"They can talk to me any time they want, I am always at the end of the phone. But we are not going to force them to improve - if they don't want the money we can just take it back."

elizabeth.thornton@archant.co.uk

Most Read

Latest from the Bexley Times

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists