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Fury at decision to sell Norton bowls club site
RYEDALE District Council is selling off another piece of the family silver and depriving Norton of a much-needed facility by agreeing to sell the town’s bowls club site, the chairman has argued.
Tom Nairn said the decision to put the site on the market was very sad and disappointing for the local community.
He said: “I thought it deserved a more detailed examination of the facts so the politicians could have seen the bigger picture before they pushed it through.
“As it was, the whole thing was a done deal – the Tories had a resounding majority and had their way.”
Mr Nairn said the committee which runs Ryedale Indoor Bowls Club has been trying to attract other sports to make it a multi-sport facility for the community, as well as encouraging other uses, from training workshops to blood donor sessions.
“It is not just a bowls club, there are many other functions held there for the community but all that fell on deaf ears,” he added.
“A lot of people have grafted very hard over many years to sustain the club and it will be the older members who will feel the loss the most. This was purely a political decision without any rational arguments.”
Mr Nairn said that in this Olympic year with all the focus sustaining sporting facilities, Ryedale District Council wanted to sell off another piece of the ‘family silver’.
“The club is not in a particularly desirable location and was specifically built so I hardly think there will be a queue of potential buyers,” he said.
“We will celebrate our 25th season just before the padlock goes on the door and our politicians will have done their job.”
The club’s catering manager, Julie Copland, who employs five part-tme workers, said she had already had people cancelling bookings.
“From April 1 next year, I won’t have a business and my staff will be out of work,” she said.
“This is a big blow and I am very angry about the whole situation. I really feel Ryedale District Council just doesn’t care, especially when they waste so much money on other things.”
Mayor of Norton, Coun Di Keal, said it was a real shame that Ryedale District Council members had decided to sell this much-needed facility in Norton.
“I would have hoped that even if membership of the bowling club has been in decline for some time that the council could have used more imagination and attracted another user to the facility to make it morefinancially sustainable in the future.
“There is a real need in Norton for more community sports facilities and the site would have been ideal for something like 10-pin bowling or indoor badminton or basketball,” she added.
“This is also an important meeting venue for the town as it is one of the few available rooms of sufficientsize to accommodate large numbers.
Coun Keal said: “This appears to be another example of Norton being stripped of it’s assets. We have lost our public amenity site and our library is still under threat, despite the fact that out of the two twin towns Norton has the bigger population.”
Coun James Fraser (Con), the district council’s champion for sport and physical recreation, said the recent decision to offer the bowls club building for sale had been a difficult decision to make.
“We understand and regret that for the remaining devoted membership this is likely to be an unpopular decision,” he said.
“Unfortunately, this is a decision which has been looming for a few years now, and having looked at several possible solutions, we have reached the conclusion that the only realistic way forward to offer the building for sale in the hope that a private operator may come forward.”