CONSULTATION – Project: Bowls of the Future

South Park Bowls Club is looking into the future of the sport and is making a bid to turn the bowling green at South Park into an arena that encourages the return of full public participation, invitation of community groups and also the return of competitive bowls and events. The club wants to help lead a regeneration of bowls in Darlington, bringing the sport into the 21st century and is applying for funds that will include the following:-

* Colourful Junior and Adults Bowls;
* Bowling Aids for Elderly and Disabled (possibly bowls adapted wheelchairs);
* Coaches that are able to offer courses on how to play the sport;
* Long lasting repairs to the green and its surroundings to make it legal for competitive play;
* An enclosure (planted ivy fencing), no more than 1metre in height to protect the facility and help us safely look after children when invited to play in groups (fully public accessible).

The club has held open days in recent years and the demand from people wanting to play the game socially is immense, when the weather has permitted the green can be full all day. Wouldn’t this be a great sight every day at the park as a spectacle to watch whilst eating your ice cream?!!

We will work with the council to offer access to the facility and the equipment and make the sport accessible for all with the possibilities for carpet and target bowls!

For a few years now the bowls club has been looking for a way to enhance the area of the park whilst keeping it a beautiful spectacle for the park users. Please see the picture of how the green may look and also (above) how we would like to see the green used, also some of the possible equipment that would assist us in providing a sport for all, not just the few.

As you will know the sport has faced difficulties in Darlington including vandalism, bowlers being physically attacked and expensive equipment stolen. The proposed improvements aim to reduce these problems and allow the club to grow and return the game to the public as a sport and as a spectacle.

The club is consulting now and ask for your constructive comments around our project. Again we stress that we have looked at many angles to make this arena complement the visual aspect of the park, and without these improvements the top bowls green is likely to become a ‘piece of grass’ like the bottom bowls green has become.

Bowls is seen to many as an old man’s sport, but we can assure you that all over the country and even more so in Australia, South Africa and New Zealand this is very much not the case. We hope that the examples show how a bowls green should be used and the sport promoted.

The bowls club is closing in on its 125th anniversary and it would be fantastic if this project was used to celebrate the future of the sport and not just remember the past.

Thank you all, any constructive ideas that are suggested will be considered in the club’s bid, so please feel free to post positives and negatives, we will look for solutions. Also feel free to contact me with any questions.

HOW THE GREEN MAY LOOK – Please bear in mind benches will be put inside and outside the arena to allow seating for those who wish to watch the bowls and those who just need a seat to eat their ice-cream.

Ivy covered fence (pre-grown ivy covering weldmesh fence)
This provides instant hedging. Maintenance will involve trimming back the ivy to prevent it spreading along the ground.

The proposal is replicating the wooden trellis to the opposite side of the green (with decorative planting and additional weldmesh fencing) in order to provide a decorative element that mirrors the existing border. Both lines of trellis – reinforced with weldmesh fencing – would form part of the boundary to the bowling green.