IT was a sad day as the last strikes were scored at a bowling alley that the community fought to save.
AMF Bowling in Bedhampton opened its doors for the final time yesterday and people of all ages who have enjoyed using the alley over the years gathered for a final game.
During the autumn, more than 1,400 people signed a petition to save the alley, but councillors at Havant Borough Council voted to demolish the building to make way for an 86-home development.
The council was initially planning to block the plans as it was the loss of a community facility, but AMF Bowling then wrote to the authority to say the business was no longer viable at Havant Retail Park, off Portsdown Hill Road.
Sandie Montgomery, from Cowplain, is secretary of Havant Youth Bowling Club and said all the local teams have had to relocate to Gunwharf Quays, in Portsmouth.
She said: ‘At the end of the day, we have lost a bowling alley. We are struggling as a group because we have to pay for parking at Gunwharf.
‘This was a good facility and it was liked by an awful lot of people.
‘Those people have not been listened to. I am almost certain the council could have done something to make sure it stayed in the community.
‘We are losing a good site and a good team of staff.
‘The staff were always prepared to bend over backwards to help people. We are going to miss all that.’
The alley was used by 45 junior bowlers and 250 league players.
The glimmer of hope for local teams is that a new bowling alley will be built in Waterlooville.
Last December, the council approved plans for restaurants, a bowling alley, cinema and hotel on the former BAE Systems site, off Hambledon Road.
Mrs Montgomery said she had heard the new bowling alley could be up and running by September, although this has not been confirmed.
She said: ‘They are already in demolishing the BAE site.
‘We will move out of Gunwharf and back up here. The council said they could not tell us who is taking over the bowling alley.’
Developer Linden Ltd will be redeveloping the former chalk pit with new homes. No-one from AMF Bowling was available for comment.