Council seeks clarity over bowling club

COUNCIL plans to spend £60,000 relocating a bowling green have been put on hold.

Hartlepool Borough Council is looking for clarification from the Government and Sport England to see if it has to replace the Staby House bowling green at Foggy Furze.

It is part of wider plans to build new houses on the site of the former Foggy Furze Library, in Stockton Road, which closed in March due to budget cuts.

The council wants to clear the whole site and the green and surrounding land was included to “maximise” the value.

Labour councillor Robbie Payne agreed to set aside the £60,000 at a recent meeting, but said he wanted to check whether the council needed to spend the money on a replacement green.

Conservative group leader Ray Wells had previously expressed concerns about the plans, describing them as a waste of money.

Coun Payne, portfolio holder for finance and procurement, said: “We need to seek some clarity as to whether the council has a duty to provide a replacement green so I have asked officers to approach Sport England and the Government.

“Once we have clarification on this point we will be in a better position to make a decision and move forward.

“I would also like to thank the bowlers for their co-operation.

“The council has been working very closely with them for some time now to make sure that they have alternative playing facilities in the town.”

Coun Wells said: “I do not feel that in the current economic climate, when local authorities are facing severe cutbacks, that we should be forced into replacing things which are surplus to requirements.

“I would like to reiterate my support for the bowlers, the bulk of which I am led to believe, have relocated elsewhere.”

Coun Wells added that he welcomed the decision by Coun Payne and thanked him for allowing him to speak at the meeting.

Closing Foggy Furze Library saved the local authority £47,536.

The council received interest from six different organisations after the building was put up for sale.

It has not been revealed who the site is set to be sold to, or for how much, as the council has not yet exchanged contracts with the preferred developer.