Fears for future of Festival of Bowls if Great Yarmouth bowling greens are less busy
- Credit: James Bass
Fears have been voiced that the famous Great Yarmouth Festival of Bowls could end if fewer people use the bowling greens near Britannia Pier.
Local bowlers are worried that Great Yarmouth Borough Council's (GYBC) decision to cut the number of attendants who watch over the seafront greens will spell disaster for the festival, which attracts 1,800 players and hundreds of spectators to Yarmouth each summer.
They believe with the only remaining attendant based at the greens on North Drive, fewer members of the public will use the Britannia Bowling Greens near the pier on Marine Parade.
They claim the green's condition will deteriorate if people do not use it every day. The greens are still open to the public - but people must see the attendant based at North Drive before they can play there.
This year's Festival of Bowls – the biggest outdoor open bowling event in the UK – will take place at the Britannia greens from August 25 to September 20.
Local bowlers Kenny Boast, Doug Richards and James Moore believe it could be the last tournament in the coastal town if the greens are not kept in mint condition.
'If these greens don't get used regularly come the festival they won't be worth a damn,' said Mr Boast.
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'People don't travel hundreds of miles for greens that are in a poor condition.
'And this town can't afford to lose the £1 million the festival brings to the local economy.'
'Without people walking on it, the green won't get soft,' added Mr Moore, who runs Prince's Tearoom next door to the Britannia Bowling Greens and is a member of the Great Yarmouth Bowls Club based there.
Jane Beck, director of customer services at GYBC, reassured people the greens are still open to the public.
She said: 'The bowling greens are not going to be being maintained any differently to the way they are now. We've previously had two attendants - one based at Britannia and one at North Drive. We will now have one between both sites and that is because it's not been cost effective to have one at each.'
The council will meet with festival organisers next Friday to talk about where the one remaining attendant should be based.