Out of three bowling clubs in the Montrose and district area facing closure two will shut while one remains open as the three clubs are merged into one.
Angus councillors approved a merger of Inch, Melville and Hillside bowling clubs into a single club based in Hillside at a meeting last Tuesday.
The lease will be £200 per year and Angus Council has agreed to cover the cost of the green for £5,000 per annum for two years, which will be reviewed ahead of the third year.
Back in October, the local authority discussed bringing in new maintenance charges for the three clubs, which it estimated at £15,000 per year, to bring them in line with the seven other council owned greens. Angus Council says that the decision to amalgamate the clubs will save it £40,000 per year.
Members of Inch Bowling Club made the decision to disband the club at their annual general meeting and on Friday, November 15, they held their final presentation dinner in the Park Hotel.
President Ken Marvelley said it was a sad day when the members met for the last time.
He added he wanted to thank the members of Inch Bowling Club for their support over the years and wished everyone well for the future.
Hazel Campbell, of Melville Bowling, said: “It’s a shame that Melville will be closing but we didn’t have the membership or funds to pay what the council was asking.”
She added: “It’s an old club and it’s surprising how many bowlers started their careers at the Melville.
“At least one club hopefully is going to survive. I thought that to go forward there ought to be an amalgamation or merger to keep one club going.
“I think people need to support the going club that is going survive,” she concluded.
Montrose Councillor David May said: “Although I will not be opposing the report, I am disappointed that the outcome of this being passed will lead to two very historic clubs in Montrose closing.
“The Inch Bowling Club was set up after World War Two as a result of donation for men coming back from the war and the Melville traces its history back to the 1870s. Both clubs have served the town well.”
He added: “The outcome also ends many inter-club events in the town, which is another huge disappointment.”
Mr May concluded: “The merged club representatives at Hillside and I have already had a meeting to plan a way forward and met an officer from the external funding department to look at ways they can tap into other sources of cash.”
The Review was unable to get in contact with representatives from Hillside Bowling Club before the issue went to print.
If the club wishes to make any statements we will print them in next week’s edition.