Hyndburn bowlers have reached a ‘compromise’ figure with the council over new public green charges.
The council has confirmed that an annual fee of £25 will be introduced from April 1 this year for people to use their 10 bowling greens which are currently free.
The Observer reported earlier this year how league officials were furious over initial proposals to charge between £55 and £60 for the greens – used by around 500 bowlers – to meet a shortfall in council finances.
However, David Waterhouse, chairman of the Hyndburn District Bowling League, said he is now ‘quite happy’ with the reduced figure of £25, with further price increases set to be staggered over future years.
He said: “I was negotiating with (council leader) Miles Parkinson and we had a good discussion and agreed on a fee of £25 which works out at roughly £1 a week as we bowl 26 weeks of the year.
“I think a good compromise has been reached from £60 down to £25.
“I think most of the bowlers are happy with that because they realise the state of the nation, never mind just Accrington, and every council is going to have to tighten its belt.
“The response I’ve had from most of the bowlers is they are happy that I’ve got it down to that figure.
“I know it sounded a lot at the beginning when they said £60, which to me it was a silly figure to even come out with in the first place.
“I think a few of the pensioners would have had a heart attack if that had gone through and it would’ve killed off bowling all together.
“I’m quite happy and I must thank Miles Parkinson for taking the time to have meetings with me.”
Bowlers will be able to buy the ‘season pass’ at Scaitcliffe House in Accrington.
The annual fee will cover the cost of ground maintenance which the council has said costs upwards of £30,000 a year – or £3,000 per green.
Coun Ken Moss, portfolio holder for leisure, said: “Across the council we are having to make sports areas viable.
“£60 would have made it viable in one go but as it stands we’ve now come to an agreement with the bowlers that it would go up in increments over the next few years.
“Eventually it will be self-sufficient but at the moment it’s a half-way house.
"It’s obviously annoyed a lot of people understandably but at least we’ve got that half-way house now and we can move on.”