Bowls club move ‘would help players and town’
Plan to bring better facilities and larger public gardens
A bowling club hopes to put its future on a firmer footing as part of a £500,000 plan to move from its town centre home and donate the land to extend the Memorial Gardens.
Ashford Town Bowls Club members have been playing at their site on the corner of Vicarage Lane and Church Road since 1908.
The pavilion is partially made out of an old South East and Chatham Railways carriage, and cost the sum of 25 shillings to build.
But the facilities are now considered run-down and not adequate for members or those with disabilities, and the limitations prevent the club from expanding its membership base.
So Ashford Borough Council (ABC) has revealed a £500,000 plan to move the club to Kingsnorth and extend the Memorial Gardens on to the land.
The cost to build the new facilities would be £359,000, and would see the club paying a peppercorn rent deal which will secure its future for more than a century to come.
Meanwhile a further £150,000 will be spent on designing a masterplan and creating an extension to the Memorial Gardens.
Cash for the scheme will be funded from section 106 contributions made by the housing developers currently redeveloping the Newtown Green railway works.
Club chairman John Sadler said the town centre green will be donated by the members to benefit the people of Ashford.
He said: “There are some mixed feelings about potentially leaving this site after 109 years, but it is very exciting that we will have a new pavilion with proper facilities including inside toilets and disabled facilities.
“We look forward to the next 100 years within the borough of Ashford, and expect to recruit many more members.”
It will be located at Entrance Park, land which is currently owned by ABC near the King- snorth Recreation Centre.
Cabinet member for the environment Cllr Mike Bennett said: “This project provides the dual benefit of securing the future of one of Ashford’s historic sports clubs while enabling green space in the town centre to be greatly improved.”
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Ashford Bowls Club could be moving