‘WE’VE done it’ was the delighted message from campaigners fighting to save the indoor bowls club in Norton On Derwent
Ryedale District councillors supported the sale of the facility to Ryedale Community and Leisure Centre (RCLC), which was set up with the backing of more than 500 individual users, as well as clubs and organisations, for £350,000, at a meeting of the full council last week.
Members had voted to sell the site in 2012 after a report stated that the club’s survival had only been secured by the council halving the annual rent to £10,000.
“It has been hard work getting to this point – from registering the building as a Community Asset through to funding the bid – but I am convinced that with our new tenants, who are incredibly enthusiastic about the project, alongside indoor bowling we have come up with a win:win situation and the building has a very bright future.”
Coun Keal said the building would still be home to indoor bowling, with currently around 150 members, but it will also become a new base for Norton dance school, Dance Expression, and Brooklyn pre-school playgroup.
“We estimate that this will bring well over 500 people into the building on a weekly basis,” she added.
“We have also secured a new catering and entertainment company that will take over the running of the function suite, which will still be used by a wide range of local voluntary groups alongside being available for parties, weddings and other events.
“All our tenants have agreed to invest their own funds in to the building to ensure it’s success which is testament to their long term commitment to the future of the Centre. This is also evidenced by their intention to take on long term leases with RCLC.”
In a report to members of the full council, chief executive Janet Waggott, said the sale would deliver a a capital receipt to the authority from a site which was not achieving a market rent and create a sustainable community facility which included the continued provision of indoor bowls.
They were told that on completion of the sale a payment of £100,000 would be made, followed by a second instalment of £130,000 between July and September.
The outstanding £120,000 would be paid by instalments over a 10-year period, with an interest rate of two per cent.
Coun Keal said she would like to pay tribute to the committee for all it’s work, especially chairman John Harrison who has worked incredibly hard to pull together a funding package alongside his right hand man Jim Everitt.
“I would also like to thank my colleagues on Norton Town Council who applied to register the building as a Community Asset which really got the ball rolling and each and everyone of the bowlers and other supporters who have stuck with us over the past months and believed in what we have now achieved,” she added.
“We are all looking forward to seeing the building open and being well used later this year”.