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County Hall car park expansion could be the end for bowls club, members fear

PUBLISHED: 14:12 25 July 2018 | UPDATED: 14:12 25 July 2018

Members of the Norfolk County Council bowls club are up in arms about changes to their parking at the club which is based at headquarters in Norwich.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018

Members of the Norfolk County Council bowls club are up in arms about changes to their parking at the club which is based at headquarters in Norwich. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

Archant 2017

Fears have been raised that a new pay and display car park being built at County Hall could spell the end for a decades-old bowls club.

Members of the Norfolk County Council bowls club are up in arms about changes to their parking at the club which is based at headquarters in Norwich.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018Members of the Norfolk County Council bowls club are up in arms about changes to their parking at the club which is based at headquarters in Norwich. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

The Norfolk County Council Staff Bowls Club has been playing at the council’s headquarters for 47 years, with players parking their cars alongside the green.

However, with the county council looking to build the new car park, club members have been left without parking close to the green.

Instead, bowlers have been asked to find parking elsewhere, a greater walking distance from the green, leading to fears from the club’s secretary that members will vote with their feet.

Alan Middleton, club secretary, said: “We are a club of some 45 members and the average age of the club is around 74, so there are real problems of access now.

Members of the Norfolk County Council bowls club are up in arms about changes to their parking at the club which is based at headquarters in Norwich.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018Members of the Norfolk County Council bowls club are up in arms about changes to their parking at the club which is based at headquarters in Norwich. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

“Our bowls are heavy, so the last thing we want is to have to lug them any further.”

The club has already been forced to reverse a number of its home fixtures due to concerns visiting teams will not be able to find sufficient parking.

Mr Middleton added: “We’re really worried members will say ‘enough is enough’.

“The club has been very badly treated over this matter. Without being able to park near the green the club has no future.

Members of the Norfolk County Council bowls club are up in arms about changes to their parking at the club which is based at headquarters in Norwich.
Club member Mike Mills demonstrates how heavy the bags are they have to carry.

Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018Members of the Norfolk County Council bowls club are up in arms about changes to their parking at the club which is based at headquarters in Norwich. Club member Mike Mills demonstrates how heavy the bags are they have to carry. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

“However, with some compromise and minor alterations to the proposals, the parking and access problems could be resolved.”

County Hall, though, insisted the project would provide a much-needed solution to parking troubles experienced by staff, and that the club was kept informed through the planning process.

A spokesman for Norfolk County Council said: “Around 2,000 people work at County Hall each day and the council currently provides 120 pay and display places. Over the next few months, the council is expanding this to 218 spaces.

“Unfortunately, with the works, safe access cannot be provided to the bowls club by car and users will need to park nearby and walk to the club.

Members of the Norfolk County Council bowls club are up in arms about changes to their parking at the club which is based at headquarters in Norwich.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018Members of the Norfolk County Council bowls club are up in arms about changes to their parking at the club which is based at headquarters in Norwich. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

“Once the works are finished, bowls club members will be welcome to use the new pay and display car park.”

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