Bexhill bowls club outlines future plans following development go-ahead

A Bexhill bowls club has pledged to promote opportunities for the sport after proposals to develop on the site were given the go-ahead.

Gullivers Bowls Club, in Knole Road, said plans to build eight two-bedroom houses, as well as a new club house and refurbish an indoor bowls rink on the site, will secure the club’s future ‘for many years to come’.

The scheme, which was proposed by Court Developments Limited, was given the green light by planners at Rother District Council (RDC) in April.

At the committee meeting, Sandra Balchin, on behalf of the club, said the proposed mews cottages would provide the funds to redevelop the bowls club.

Gullivers bowling club, Bexhill.

The scheme was recommended for approval by planning officers but was unpopular with some neighbours who argued the loss of green space as a result of the development was ‘unacceptable’. These objectors had been supported by Bexhill Town Council and the Cantelupe Community Association.

A statement from the club’s board of directors said: “The board of directors want Gullivers to become a hub of bowling excellence for top class bowls players, as well as club and social bowlers.

"We do believe that players should be encouraged to start playing and make the most of the facilities available, moving on to represent their club in prestigious events and excelling at the sport, if that is what they desire. In a successful lawn bowls club, there must be a good mix of competitive, club and social players, or else the bowls club will fail.

“For the local community, we would welcome new social members and ask them to enjoy our bar and restaurant facilities, hoping that they make the most of the club, as non-bowlers. In the future, we would expect other sports to use our facilities, such as chess, bridge, pool and darts players.

“The planning agreement from RDC is the culmination of many years’ work, started in 1989, when Tony Goodwin, director and treasurer, and Charles Wright, chairman of the board of directors, appreciated the club did not have a finite time period and a move was proposed to Turkey Road.

“In the mid-1990s, the members reversed this decision, as they did not want to leave their Knole Road site and John Hanniford, director and local architect, was heavily involved in creating similar plans to those now proposed by Court Developments, with homes being built on the top bowling green.

“As time went on, the old board of directors tried to obtain planning permission for a large number of flats on Knole Road from 2001 to 2019, but this was not acceptable to our neighbours and the careful and sympathetic approach of Court Developments to the site and the surrounding area, has enabled the current board to save their bowling facility, as well as providing the town with wonderful new mews properties.”

Mr Wright said: “As chairman of Gullivers Bowls Club, I am delighted that we now have a way forward, which will see eight pretty mews cottages built on our disused upper green, with our clubhouse and indoor bowling facilities rebuilt. This will secure the future of the club for many years to come.”