Club given time to consider finances

LOCAL bowlers are breathing a sigh of relief that a consultation period on its future leasing and maintenance costs has been extended.

Inch Bowling Club members were told costs were to rise annually from April 1 this year, but chairman Kenneth Marvelley and treasurer Cath Evans challenged Angus Council on a proposed eight-month consultation period, part of a report on bowling club finance approved by elected members in November.

A letter from the council received by the club on Friday, however, said there had been a “minsunderstanding” and the club had not been contacted when it should have been. Members were also told they should have been given eight months’ consultation to find out if they could bear the additional costs themselves.

Mr Marvelley said: “We contacted property services and have arranged a meeting with them on Thursday. This isn’t an official confirmation as such, saying that the status quo will apply until November, there’s nothing about what costs we might have to take on until then.”

At the end of last year the council decided to standardise its agreements with bowling clubs after the variety of individual situations regarding rental and maintenance across Angus was highlighted in an official’s report.

Inch members were shocked to receive a letter from the authority earlier this month telling them that their annual rent and ground maintenance would increase over the next five years to £530 and £15,000 respectively, putting the club’s future in doubt.

Its committee was reluctant to pass on the costs to its 24 members, mainly pensioners, and objected to a lack of contact from the council between the end of November and this month. They also objected to being given just two months to try to make alternative arrangements for their ground maintenance, currently supplied by the local authority.

The club took the issue to Ferryden Community Council’s February meeting where they received the backing of community councillors, but Angus councillor Bill Duff was adamant that the council could not afford to continue subsidising the club or others across Angus.

He did, however, take up the matter of the consultation period with property services and advised Mr Marvelley to contact the department again.

Mr Marvelley added: “We need clarification, but unless the status quo continues we won’t be able to make alternative arrangements in time for April.”