Thursday, 5 March 2015

Council spent over £20 000 on Victoria Park bowling green pavilion - then shut it

Victoria Park Bowling Green
As reported in last night's Evening Telegraph and today's Courier, I have expressed concern about the City Council’s decision to close the Victoria Park Bowling Green, axed in the SNP administration’s budget, after it emerged that, only last year, the council had spent nearly £23 000 on repairs to the bowling green’s pavilion.

As residents are aware, I attempted at last month’s City Council Budget Meeting to save the Victoria Park Bowling Green and also the one at Baxter Park from the axe but unfortunately the SNP voted to close them and Labour also failed to support the bowling greens.   After my asking questions about the situation, it now emerges that the council spent £22 836 in 2014 repairing the pavilion at the Victoria Park green just a matter of months before closing it.

This rather made a nonsense of claiming closing the bowling greens saves money.    The total annual revenue budget saving from closing both bowling greens was claimed to be £30 000, so, as Victoria Park's is the smaller of the two, I suspect the saving there would be under £15 000, which begs the question why council spent nearly £23 000 on the pavilion only to shut it months later.

The council claimed that these bowling greens could have been better used but the council itself has failed to properly promote the greens and their availability for local people to use.   If the council had been more proactive in advertising these bowling greens, they would been better used.

In the West End, we are lucky to have excellent private bowling clubs like Hillcrest and Balgay, but for people unable to afford an annual subscription or residents just wanting an occasional game without a recurring subscription, council bowling greens provide that facility.   The bowling green at Victoria Park has a lovely setting and it is a crying shame to see it dismantled.    

The Environment Director has said the council will consider possible alternative uses for the pavilion and green but so far there appears to be no proactivity to progress this.    I would like to see possible new community uses explored, but meantime I am simply scratching my head as to why anyone would think of spending nearly £23 000 of public money on a building and then shut it just months later.