A BOWLING green has been forced to close as a direct result of cuts made by Portsmouth City Council.
Highbury Bowling Club, in Portsmouth Road, Cosham, will close at the end of the season and it will not reopen.
The decision to close the popular club comes after the city council announced it will transfer the costs of running the city’s greens to clubs in April next year – the start of the next season.
It is looking to save £128,000 through the cuts.
But bowlers say they will be unable to cope with the financial aspects of running the clubs themselves.
Melvyn Dunbar, 70, of Lendorber Avenue, Cosham, has played bowls at Highbury for 11 years.
He said: ‘We’re very upset about the whole situation.
‘The council used to fund 100 per cent of the running of the club, and now they are taking all that away.
‘Where do they think we’re going to get the money from to keep it going?
‘You can play tennis for free in Cosham Park and go swimming for free, so why not play bowls?
‘It feels like we’re being penalised.’
Highbury Bowling Club, which has been open for around 60 years, is next to the 78-year-old Cosham Bowling Club, in Cosham Park. The two share a clubhouse.
Members from Highbury and Cosham will be amalgamated and will all play on the Cosham Bowling Club green when the Highbury green closes.
Bob Winter, 81, also of Lendorber Avenue, Cosham, is president of Cosham Bowling Club.
Mr Winter, who has played bowls for 20 years, said: ‘On one hand the council and authorities are asking us to keep active and do more exercise outdoors.
‘But on the other hand, they are taking away more and more facilities for us to be able to do that.’
To mark the end of an era, there will be a match held on Highbury Green on September 22, between former Highbury members and current Cosham bowlers. It starts 2pm.