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Future of Ryedale Indoor Bowls Club hangs in the balance
THE future of Ryedale Indoor Bowls Club has been placed in jeopardy after district councilllors agreed to sell the site.
Members of Ryedale District Council decided to authorise officers to negotiate the sale of the club building, off Scarborough Road, Norton , after they were told it would generate capital for the authority.
In a report by the council’s corporate director Paul Cresswell, councillors were told the club’s survival had only been secured by the council halving its rent to £10,000 this year.
He added that the club was now effectively receiving a public subsidy of almost £30,000 a year because of the difference between what it pays and the ‘market rent’ for the building and this cannot continue.
However, selling the site could raise about £400,000 but would leave the club’s survival in doubt.
Speaking at last Thursday’s meeting, Coun Elizabeth Shields, one of Norton’s representatives, said: “People in Norton have gone through a tough time as a result of the Brambling Fields road scheme delay, losing the county library and children being deprived of using the playing fields in the summer holidays.”
Coun Linda Cowling, replying to calls for a deferment, said: “We spend about £1 million on sport in Ryedale.
“We have bent over backwards to help, but we have a wider responsibility to our taxpayers.”
Coun Cowling added that the bowls club was a small group of about 156 members which was costing the council £27,500 a year.
She said this was “a bad use” of the council’s revenue budget and retaining the bowling centre was not a good use of an asset.
Coun John Clark said that with Ryedale’s over 65s population increasing, there was a need to provide such amenities as bowling.
He added that the council had already saved £50,000, in this Olympic year, by getting rid of its sports officer, and that money is still to be spent.
Coun Keith Knaggs said any sale would not take effect until next April.
“We still have seven months for someone to come forward. We cannot justify turning down a receipt of £400,000. The building needs a new owner to provide new investment,” he said.