CALLS have been made for more bowling facilities following the closure of two alleys.
Ten-pin bowler Mark Walden says the bowling community is devastated at the loss of the AMF Bedhampton and Go Bowling Fareham alleys.
A planned leisure complex at the former BAE site, off Hambledon Road, Waterlooville, was earmarked for a bowling alley to replace AMF.
But those plans have been drastically cut back and are unlikely to go ahead for some years.
Mr Walden, from Purbrook, has asked Havant MP Alan Mak to consider making a case for a leisure complex with bowling facilities in the town.
He said: ‘I know business decisions are made for reasons beyond the control of others, but within this corner of Hampshire we have lost two facilities in the past 12 months.
‘These bowling centres support the community.
‘There are league events every night with up to 100 players. They run young bowlers clubs for up to 18 years old. These bowlers often attend tournaments throughout the UK.
‘Also, there are senior bowling clubs and I have witnessed disabled and wheelchair bowlers with their carers during the days of the Bedhampton centre.
‘Other sports facilities would struggle to support this need.
‘They are truly a very valuable asset to our community at all levels and few sports can support the level of participation that ten-pin bowling can.’
Gunwharf and Eastleigh are the closest bowling alleys to Havant and Fareham.
Mr Walden added: ‘I know there is a large number of regular players with little access to their sport.
‘There is demand for such a facility and with expanding housing an ideal solution would be to expand a leisure centre site to a sports park.
‘I feel this is a major community issue that needs support.’
Mr Mak said there was already a wide range of leisure facilities in the borough and investment planned in places such as Dunsbury Hill Farm.
He added: ‘The recent closure of Fareham’s bowling alley follows a wider trend across the region due to falling usage. The owners of Bedhampton bowling alley closed it for the same reason.
‘I hope Mr Walden and his fellow bowlers can persuade a new provider that there is sufficient local demand for them to return.’