Fears Havant bowling could 'dwindle out' unless ageing plans for new alley at old BAE site in Waterlooville take shape
BOWLERS fear their club could ‘dwindle’ unless developers ‘stop dragging their heels’ over plans for new leisure facilities.
Membership numbers at Havant Youth Bowling Club have halved since the group’s local alley at AMF Bowling in Bedhampton closed in 2014.
The club now has 19 players aged five to 21 and treks to Hollywood Bowl at Gunwharf Quays to train.
Club bosses are more desperate than ever to see ageing plans for an alley at the old BAE site in Elettra Avenue, Waterlooville, take shape.
‘Our team is smaller and I know we’re not the only ones,' said club secretary Sandie Montgomery, 56.
‘We've been trying to get people back into the alley but this development is what we need.
‘There's an awful lot of children around this area and we are getting more with new housing sites like Berewood – and many of them have nothing up to do.’
Measuring in at five-and-a-half hectares, the BAE site is the subject of an undecided outline planning application from Hargreaves.
The firm says an eight-screen cinema, a 21-lane bowling alley and a gym could be there by 2021, but no plan has been agreed since the idea arose more than five years ago.
Club secretary Maria Phillips fears the worst unless the development gets green lit soon.
‘Unless it happens I think our club will probably dwindle out, which would be a terrible shame because there are so many out there who have the talent to progress in the bowling world,’ the 58-year-old said.
‘Portsmouth is a long way to go to train and the alley there is so commercial.
‘If they had their own the opportunity to bowl more often, at their own local alley, they could stay at the top level.’
A spokeswoman for Havant Borough Council said Hargreaves' application, submitted in October 2018, remains under consideration.
It is understood the developer wants it to be green lit by the authority so it can go to market to rally interest from buyers.
Once any part of the site is bought, it will require further planning permission to identify its use.
So far a Lidl and a McDonald’s have been built there.
The News contacted Hargreaves for comment.