At an emergency meeting of the Horsham District Indoor Bowls Club at Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre on 26 February 2014, the large number of members who attended were informed that all the signs were that Horsham District Council, in particular the cabinet member for arts, heritage and leisure, Jonathan Chowen, appeared to be about to renege on all past undertakings to include Horsham District Indoor Bowls Club in any new development of the site.
Your headline feature in the County Times of 27 February 2014, confirms this deceit. Horsham Indoor Bowls Club has been erased completely from the plan and the activity of indoor bowls to be replaced by a possible ice rink.
In short, the message is that if you belong to a certain age group, in this case mainly but not entirely 50-plus, you are not considered of any worth in Horsham District Council’s plans for future leisure facilities, despite paying income and local taxes like everyone else.
The current 400 members of the bowls club fully appreciate the benefits it offers: a game for all ages; sustained, light exercise; a gentle test of skills; an opportunity to socialise with a wide variety of other local residents, particluarly beneficial for people living on their own; a friendly, welcoming atmosphere and an encouragement for new members to join the group.
With the current, rapid expansion of housing provision around Horsham, we fully expect membership to grow exponentially. The overall therapeutic value of groups such as the bowls club cannot be underestimated, as medical expert opinion will testify.
The message to Horsham District Council, and to Jonathan Chowen and his inner circle in particular, is that Horsham District Indoor Bowls Club and its members intend to supprt the chairman and committee in their fight for the club’s right to exist and to continue to be a vibrant player in the local community. With local elections looming, councillors should remember that we and our extended families, together with sympathetic friends, have a vote.
So, be aware: this defence of Horsham District Indoor Bowls Club’s right to continue to exist is just starting.
I write as an ordinary member of Horsham District Indoor Bowls Club.
Pondtail Road, Horsham