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Council funding fury of Ryedale Indoor Bowls Club campaigners
2:56pm Wednesday 13th March 2013 in News
CAMPAIGNERS fighting to prevent the sale of Ryedale Indoor Bowls Club are angry that councillors have given more than £8,000 to a community facility in Helmsley which, they claim, is used for just 12 weeks a year, while refusing to subsidise their premises.
At last week’s meeting of Ryedale District Council, Terence Wray, spokesman for the bowls club in Norton, told councillors: “Helmsley outdoor pool is a small private-owned facility, open only 12 weeks a year, subject to the vagaries of the English climate, receiving £8,750 a year subsidy, despite the council having no idea of visitor numbers and overshadowed by a far superior indoor pool just four miles away at Ampleforth which is open all year round to the public, and at no cost to tax payers.”
The Ryedale Bowls Centre, he said, was the only facility of its type in the district, with 15,000 users a year, and which was open year-round. It had, he added, seen members become international, national and county players, and its men’s team had just won promotion to Division A of the Yorkshire League. It produced £10,000 revenue a year for Ryedale, equivalent to a 20 per cent return on the council’s investment of £50,000.
Another campaigner, Harry Davis said: “If it was the view of the council that the bowls club was badly managed, then shouldn’t the council have intervened at an early stage to make improvements to the operation of an important community facility owned by Ryedale District Council?”
Council chairman Coun Eric Hope (Con) said: “The council has never made any comments or held a view about the quality of the management of the bowls club. It is a private members’ club. It does not deliver services on behalf of the council, it leases a property from the council.
“It is not the council’s place to intervene in the running of a private members’ club, nor can it in this case as landlord under the terms of the lease.”
On Helmsley’s outdoor swimming pool, Coun Hope said: “The council does not subsidise the pool. It provides a grant to the charity and in return it provides public swimming for the council. The grant over three years amounts to £26,240 and the charity has confirmed that the most recent figures show 12,050 users. This produces a grant per visit of £2.18. This grant is being reviewed this year.”