A RALLYING call has gone out to local people to fight the decision to close Ryedale Indoor Bowls Club in Norton.

An open meeting is being held at the club this Sunday for members, users and supporters of the club to put forward ideas and suggestions to save the facility.

Members of Ryedale District Council voted to sell the site, off Scarborough Road, in September, following a report by the council’s corporate director Paul Cresswell which pointed out that the club’s survival to date had only been secured by the council halving the rent to £10,000.

Selling the site could raise about £400,000 but would leave the club’s survival in doubt.

The move has prompted a flurry of objections from users of the club and the catering business which employs five part-time staff.

Tom Nairn, the club’s chairman, said he hoped people would attend this weekend’s meeting and show their support.

“This is an opportunity for people to come along and lend their ideas and put forward their suggestions to save our club,” he said.

“I have contacted every member of Ryedale District Council and am hoping a number of them will attend and hear at first hand what the public’s views and feelings are.”

Mr Nairn said campaigning for the club had made a lot of progress and the meeting was also an opportunity to ‘brainstorm’.

“We need to focus and get to the seat of power and persuade council members there is sufficient reason for them to sit round the table and discuss with our members their decision and find a reasonable compromise,” he said.

“We also need to persuade the Conservatives that they have been a bit hasty and should consider the community aspects of the centre.”

Coun Di Keal, mayor of Norton and member of Ryedale District Council, said she would like to encourage anyone who would like to see the bowling club saved as a community sports facility and venue to attend the meeting.

“The bowling club is a great asset to Norton, both for the members who bowl regularly and also for the wider community as the largest venue for events in Norton,” she said.

“I question whether enough was done to help the bowling club committee improve the future prospects of the club before the decision was made to sell by the Tory group on Ryedale District Council. I also doubt that they will receive the predicted sum of £400,000 for the site as it stands in flood plain.”

Coun Keal added: “There is a lot of support for retaining the club and I would urge those district councillors who voted in support of the sale to start listening to their views. It is late in the day, but not too late to find a solution that will keep the club for the community, and also turn its fortunes around so it has a sustainable future.”

The open meeting will be held at the club on Sunday at 3pm.


Chance to waltz your support

A COUPLE who have raised thousands of pounds for local charities say their dances will come to an end if the Ryedale Indoor Bowls Club closes at the end of April.

Barrie and Pat Elener said the decision by Ryedale District Council to sell the site will deprive local people of a much-needed community facility.

“As many people may know, we run regular ‘Come Dancing’ charity dances throughout the year and over the past five or six years have raised several thousand pounds for well-loved and deserving charities, such as MacMillan Cancer Support, the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and Marie Curie Cancer Care,” Barrie said.

“Our chosen venue has been the Ryedale Indoor Bowls Club as it is virtually unique in Ryedale and convenient for ourselves as well as offering excellent facilities.”

Barrie said that when they started to run their dances, they did so to offer dance lovers, beginners and others, the opportunity to take part in ballroom dancing, in Ryedale, at a good local venue.

“The club meets all our needs and is very well liked, not only by our local dance-goers, but also those who regularly travel in, from York, Tadcaster, Scarborough and Northallerton,” he said.

“We cannot think of anywhere in Ryedale that offers all these facilities. We are just one example of a friendly, socially-active group, who regularly use the excellent facilities at the club, so the district council’s Tory group, which has voted to sell the centre and say it will only affect a small group of bowlers is wrong.”

Barrie said: “They have decided to deprive the residents of Ryedale, and visitors too, of a unique indoor bowls and leisure centre where many community activities take place, and for what? The possibility of a ‘handful of silver’.”

The couple are now inviting people to support their Valentine dance on Friday, February 15, 7.45pm-11.30pm.

“Bowlers from the club and around the district are invited to come and enjoy a good social night of dancing, even if their bowling is better than their dancing,” Barrie added.

“It will give those who have not visited the venue before a good chance to see all the facilities, which sadly Ryedale folk are going to lose, if the ruling Conservative group has its way.”

The dance, which is in aid of the local Marie Curie Cancer Care Group, will also include a raffle and spot prizes.

Tickets are £5 on the door. For more information phone Barrie and Pat on 01653 694431 or email bpelener@hotmail.co.uk