East Lancashire indoor bowls centre boost

Lancashire Telegraph: East Lancashire indoor bowls centre boost East Lancashire indoor bowls centre boost

CAMPAIGNERS for a dedicated indoor bowls centre in East Lancashire have got a boost from Blackburn with Darwen leisure boss Damian Talbot.

He has promised to look at whether the sport can be accommodated at the new Witton Park Athletic Stadium after Tory councillor Alan Cottam raised the issue.

The borough is already looking at an idea from Bill Stemp, chair of Dugdale Memorial Bowling Club, to help build a six-rink centre in a disused unit at Glenfield Business Park.

The only purpose-built facility in the county is at Newton Hall, Staining, near Blackpool.

Coun Cottam, a keen bowler, raised the issue at the borough’s planning committee when it discussed changes to the cladding of the main building of the new £2.3million community athletics complex. It already includes an indoor 60m sprint track; the first resurfacing of the outdoor track since 1984; improved drainage for the field events area; and covered spectator seating.

He said: “Could the new Witton Park complex include an indoor bowling centre?

“There is a lot of interest in this.

“At the moment we have to go to Blackpool for a proper indoor bowling rink.”

The committee chairman Dave Smith said he would suggest the idea to Coun Talbot as executive member for leisure and culture.

Coun Cottam said if indoor bowls was to go ahead, the floor used had to be perfectly flat for matting to placed on it.

Coun Talbot told the Lancashire Telegraph: “We will certainly look at this idea.

“Coun Cottam is passionate about bowls.

“If it can be done with little or no extra cost and slots can be found for it in the new stadium’s programme, it is a possibility.

I shall talk to Coun Cottam about it.”

Coun Cottam said: “This is good news. I shall discuss this with Coun Talbot.

The only indoor space in the area at Albion Mill in Blackburn closed in 2008.

In 2009, a bid to establish a facility on the Glenfield Business Park with Sports England funding was ruled unsuccessful.

Mr Stemp believes that the basement venue, located in the same building as the Blackburn Optical Centre, could be renovated for £180,000.

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