WORTHING will not be giving up the prestigious National Men’s Bowling Championships without a fight is the message from the town’s borough council – and it has even lodged a bid to capture the women’s event.
The council met with Bowls England last week to put its proposals on the table to prevent a possible relocation of the annual men’s event, which takes place at Beach House Park, to Royal Leamington Spa.
Chief executive of Worthing Borough Council, Peter Latham, has revealed Worthing has made “a very attractive offer” to extend the 25-year stay of the tournament for another five years.
Outcry erupted in Worthing in April after news broke that Bowls England was looking at the possibility of moving the championships from Beach House Park to a more-central location – Royal Leamington Spa Bowling Club at Victoria Park – due to high costs of parking and accommodation in Worthing, as well as high travel costs.
It has now emerged that Leamington Spa, who already hold the women’s championships, offer free parking on the large Victoria Park ground, which is less than a stone’s throw away from its greens, during that tournament.
But Mr Latham believes that Worthing has provided excellent offers to retain the men’s event and the council has even tabled an offer to host the women’s event.
He said: “We have met with Bowls England and made, what I believe, is a very attractive offer to try to keep the championships in the town for another five years.
“I believe it’s a great offer and we have also made a bid to bring the ladies tournament to the town which surprised a few people – at least one jaw dropped around the table.
“The reason we put that on the table is to show we are serious.”
Mr Latham would not go into detail of the offers, but added: “We talked about parking, entrance fees, seating, toilet arrangements and concession stands.
“We have also been in touch with our hoteliers and talked about hotel prices and they are very good, they haven’t gone up and are reasonable.
“We set out what Worthing offers and compared places between us and Leamington – the only thing we can’t do anything about is being hundreds of miles away from the middle of the country.”
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Read the full story on the sports pages of this week’s Worthing Herald, on sale from today (Thursday, July 19).