Sadness as death knell sounds for Havant bowling alley

CLOSING AMF Bowling in Havant
CLOSING AMF Bowling in Havant
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PERMISSION is set to be granted to demolish a bowling alley to make way for housing.

Campaigners thought they had won the battle to save AMF Bowling, in Havant Retail Park, Bedhampton, but the owners say the business is no longer viable.

It has led planners at Havant Borough Council to recommend approval of a planning application by Linden Homes for 86 flats and houses.

The matter will be debated on Thursday by the development management committee which will also discuss a proposal for a leisure park at the old BAE site in Waterlooville – which could include a bowling alley.

Sandie Montgomery, secretary of Havant Youth Bowling Club, said: ‘It’s a sad state.

‘The only positive that’s coming out of it is the BAE place could have a bowling alley. But they are not looking to build that until 2017.

‘There’s a few years difference and we need it now, not in 2017. We are not happy about it at all. There’s a lot of children that do bowling, between 40 and 50, and they are going to miss out. We’re in discussions with the manager at Gunwharf but it’s quite a long way to go.’

In September planning officers had recommended refusal of the proposals on the grounds that it would mean a loss of a vital community facility. It is particularly well used by disabled groups, the elderly and young people.

A petition with more than 1,400 signatures was given to the council ahead of the previous planning hearing but the application was withdrawn by Linden Homes. It has now been resubmitted.

In a letter to the council AMF said: ‘We have, for commercial reasons, decided that we will cease operating from Havant Retail Park within the near future.

‘Operating from this standalone/non-leisure park location is not viable and our business is better suited to larger multi-leisure/retail outlets. AMF is continuing to consider opportunities within the surrounding conurbation that are focused on family destinations of choice and we are working with the landlord to agree an exit strategy.’

The meeting is at 5pm.