Great Britain

Bowling club fights for future as pub manager insists closure is 'necessary to survive'

A HISTORIC bowling club based next to a pub is fighting for its future - but the venue's boss insists the potential closure is necessary for its survival.

Kings Head Bowling Club, which is attached to The Kings Head pub in Queen’s Street, Ulverston, has been in operation for 200 years.

The club is particularly popular for the town's older generation, with over 600 individual games played on the green last season.

However, the club’s ten-year lease with the pub’s brewery Marston’s is coming to an end - and there are concerns that it may not be renewed.

This has prompted chairman Bill Kitson and greenkeeper secretary Bob Smith to enlist the help of the MP and other community leaders to preserve the club’s long-standing green.

However, pub manager Paul Aston said it had to adapt in order to survive.

He said it could be turned into a mini-golf green to add an extra income to the business.

But club members are not happy.

Mr Kitson said: “After 200 years bowling we are facing concerns about the renewal of our lease with Marston’s, due to end June 2021.

“The Kings Head is booked by the day by local clubs and groups.

“Barrow and Ulverston Rotary clubs compete here. Last season over 600 individual games were played on the green.

“We are committed to offering good health through light activity for the over 40s.”

Mr Aston said nothing had been agreed yet.

“The ten year lease is coming to end and we’re reviewing different options of what to do with the outdoor space," he said. "We’re hoping to possibly turn the space into an area where local people and visitors can sit outside rather than it being used for an exclusive, private bowling club.

“We’re looking at ways we can expand and rejuvenate the business so we can survive in the current climate.

“It’s sad there is a possibility the bowls club could come to an end but there are other clubs in the town.

“Nothing has been agreed as of yet but talks are undergoing about doing something different to the area.

“We’re trying to be practical and look at the ways we can broaden the pub experience.

“Currently, we have a very small indoor space and we would like to expand this into the bowling area.

“We’re trying to be innovate and help local people and tourists enjoy the outdoor space in a safe environment which is what we’re focussing on. In order to survive, we have to adapt.

“If we don’t make changes, we will close and then there will be no bowling green or pub. We’re toying with the idea of perhaps turning the space into a mini golf green."

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