CRUNCH talks are set to take place today between crown green bowlers and town hall officials over the future of the sport in Burnley and Padiham.

Clubs across the borough are bracing themselves for possible cuts, affecting municipal and privately-run greens.

Three options are understood to have been put forward to bowling officials, who represent hundreds of weekend and night league players.

Under the first proposal, bowling would be made free, with clubs having to pay their own maintenance costs, like water and electricity.

Another option could see the £1,250 subsidy for privately-maintained greens, for clubs such as Queensgate, Lowerhouse, Stoneyholme, and Briercliffe, withdrawn.

A third option would be to maintain the status quo.

Bowling officials fear less well-supported clubs could be forced to close if charges are increased, or support withdrawn.

George Isherwood, secretary of the East Lancashire Saturday League and a member of Queen’s Park Bowling Club, said: “It will all depend on club membership.

“The membership at Queen’s Park is quite strong and we will probably be okay, but I know that clubs at other park greens, like Scott Park, Causeway, and Barden, have struggled this year to raise teams.

“We pay quite a lot of money to bowl in Burnley, more than in Pendle, for instance, because of the fees the council charges.”

Council bosses fear they will have to make severe cuts due to the government’s spending review, set to be announced later today.

Earlier this year crown green bowlers in Pendle protested at council plans to increase the fees for council-owned greens in Colne, Barrowford, Brierfield, Earby and Nelson.