Statement concerning bowls clubs in Three Rivers
14th October 2020
Three Rivers District Council owns the sites of two bowls clubs that are operated by Rickmansworth/Basing Bowls Club and Mill End Bowls Club.
Each club has been paying a modest annual rental and the Council has been paying for repairs, general maintenance, grounds maintenance, upkeep and utilities. The Council costs in keeping the clubs and premises running has increased considerably over the years while the rental has remained static to the extent that the Council costs now considerably exceed the rental received. The membership of the clubs is fairly modest and the Council’s costs shortfall represents a considerable per member subsidy.
The clubs have been offered a number of options to address the situation as part of a lease renewal to secure their continued operation. The clubs were offered the choice to either increase the rent to cover the Council’s outgoings or to take on the running activities and cost directly themselves. All the clubs have opted to take on responsibility for the running and cost directly.
In recognition of the bowls clubs taking over their own running, the Council has offered to reduce the rent of the premises to a nominal amount which is a fraction of the previous rent. The clubs have also been offered a much longer lease than the previous licences to provide more security and control for the clubs in the future.
The Council is also able to offer the clubs use of a number of pieces of grounds maintenance equipment and a transitional grant for the first two years as an assistance package to help the clubs adjust to the new lease arrangements.
The Council has also offered to provide ongoing technical support to the clubs during the transitional period to provide education for fine turf and grounds maintenance and training on how to use equipment etc.
The new lease will also offer the clubs the opportunity to seek additional external funding and grants from the likes of Sports England, the Lottery and the Parish Council and others in a way that was not available to the clubs previously.
Cllr Matthew Bedford, Lead Member for Resources, said: "The Council is keen to work with the clubs to find a way forwards that enables them to continue to operate and provide benefits to the local community while at the same time making sure the cost to taxpayers is affordable and more open and transparent."