Gainsborough MP has pledged his support to Indoor Bowls Club

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Gainsborough’s MP has pledged his support to the Indoor Bowls Club in its search for a new venue.

Sir Edward Leigh has written to West Lindsey District Council urging them to consider an alternative to closing the indoor bowls hall at the leisure centre in Gainsborough.

He said: “Members of the Bowls Club have suggested the establishment of a charitable trust with a community asset transfer could help secure the future of the bowls hall whether at the West Lindsey Leisure Centre or at another location.

“These are local residents who do not want to be a burden on the ratepayer but understandably they would like to carry on bowling.

“I have written to the district council supporting their proposals and asking the Chief Executive to investigate.”

Sir Edward pointed out in his letter that the district council did not fully anticipate the strength of objection that would be raised when the decision was taken.

He hailed the proposed alternative as “a very practical plan which would ameliorate the loss of this important venue to local residents while keeping factors of cost in mind as well”.

A spokesman for West Lindsey District Council said: “The procurement of the leisure contract was subject to a rigorous process which, through a full assessment of need in the district, resulted in a contract which will ensure improved access to a greater range of activities for all demographics in our local community.

“The new leisure contract represents greater value for money for the local taxpayer while ensuring an expanded provision – the council firmly believes that this represents a positive deal for the residents of West Lindsey.

“With specific reference to the Gainsborough Bowls Club, we have sought full engagement to find suitable alternatives and we are open to establishing a continuing dialogue with the group.”

A spokesman from Everyone Active said: “We are working in partnership with West Lindsey District Council to redevelop West Lindsey Leisure Centre.

“As part of the project, the centre will be vastly extended and improved to offer a wider variety of facilities and activity services, which in turn will help a greater number of people, of all ages and abilities, to get active and improve their health and wellbeing.

“Both organisations have been in discussion with the bowls club to try and find a suitable alternative for them, including the provision of short-mat bowls at the hub. As of yet, a conclusion on this matter has not been reached but we remain committed to support the club in finding a solution.”

Members of the bowls club also held another demonstration outside of the district council offices at the Guildhall in Gainsborough.

Club member, Linda Grocock, said: “The demonstration was held by about 30 people.

“Unfortunately so many of our competitive bowlers were in leagues playing out of town otherwise the numbers would have been far higher.

“The response from passing traffic was excellent.

“But more importantly after the meeting, where we held a silent public protest with our banners while the council business was carried out, we had the opportunity to talk to councillors and a dialogue was started.”