BOWLERS have won their campaign to save their clubs after their own cost-cutting proposal was adopted by councillors.
Worthing Borough Council’s previous proposal to close the two greens and club rooms at Field Place was met with horror by Field Place and West Tarring clubs.
But their compromise in closing just one green and one club room was welcomed by councillors.
West Tarring president David Tomalin, 79, said: “It has been an interesting couple of months since the first announcement was made and the road was very rocky at times
“We quickly realised that the objective of the council exercise was to achieve cost savings and we had to recognise that in our negotiations and put forward a proposal for one green and one club room.”
The clubs called an emergency meeting in October when they heard the proposals, which they believed would spell the ‘death knell’ for both clubs.
They scored a mini victory last month when they convinced the Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee (JOSC) to urge the cabinet to consider alternatives
At the Joint Strategic Committee (JSC) last Wednesday, leader Paul Yallop fully endorsed the bowlers’ proposal and pledged to call a meeting with all clubs to discuss the wider future of participation in the town.
Praising the bowlers’ gentlemanly conduct in their campaign, he said: “I think the bowls clubs put a lot of work into this and I would like to thank them.
“The solution they came up with can be workable so I would like to see us go forward with that.
“I do think it is a good compromise and it is also about time we had that meeting to actually direct where we are going with bowling in Worthing.”
Mr Tomalin thanked the council for their U-turn and welcomed the idea of a future meeting.
“The sad loss of Bowls England means that the kudos Worthing once had has been lost but I think Paul Yallop’s initiative in calling representatives together is admirable,” he said.
Castle ward councillor Luke Proudfoot, who spoke at the JOSC meeting, said the cabinet had made it clear that future decisions on bowls would go through both JOSC and JSC.
He said: “I am very pleased that both JOSC and JSC have listened to Mr Tomalin, my fellow Castle councillor Dan Humphreys and myself and that now going forward the plan will be to keep one club room and one bowling green.
“This will allow the bowling clubs to continue at Field Place and not have to move to Beach House Park.”
Fellow Castle ward councillor Charles James added his congratulations to the bowlers for a ‘spirited’ campaign and that the decision will benefit bowls in Worthing generally.
The proposal received unanimous support.