BOWLS players have vowed not to jack in their fight for a permanent indoor arena when the doors close to the Play Drome next week.
The sport centre has been the home of indoor bowling in Clydebank for years, and its imminent closure – with no plans for a replacement facility – will leave dozens of devastated participants “lost” without their usual game.
And the players have launched renewed calls on West Dunbartonshire Council to ensure their needs are met when the new Clydebank leisure centre at Queen’s Quay is up and running later this year.
Club members will have to travel to Dumbarton or Glasgow’s Whiteinch and pay to join a private bowls club in order to play during the winter months.
Neil Etherington, who has been part of the club for 20 years, said: “Not only does it benefit people playing it in the Play Drome but you get people who have played in the past. You get ones who have had operations and they will come and watch and then they will start recover and play.
“You get people with dementia whose wives bring them along knowing they will be looked after so all that will be lost. Some men just like to have a chat. It’s filling in a social need for older people.”
However, the facility has been branded as too expensive to recreate as it is used only in winter.
The new leisure centre on the Clydeside will not feature a rink when it opens later this year, however, it won’t stop the club campaigning for a venue elsewhere on the new water’s edge development, which, they say, they were promised a decade ago.
Neil said: “In the early 2000s the committee were talking about providing another leisure centre. It went before the councillors and at the time the agreement was it would be an updated Play Drome and it would be a like-for-like.
“We were told it’s not viable as a business. I understand why they’re thinking that way but it’s much more valuable than it might appear.”
When the Abbotsford Road site closes on February 26, the group will band together in the hope they will be able to tie down a soon-to-be developed office space earmarked for the Quay. Neil added: “When they start planning these extra offices still to be done, we’ll do all we can to get one.”
A council spokeswoman said: “We confirmed with the indoor bowling club in 2010 that it would not be financially viable to include a dedicated facility within the new leisure centre.
“We want the new centre to appeal to as many people as possible and all the new facilities have been designed with this in mind. An indoor rink would have consumed a large area of the centre and as it’s only used seven months each year, it wasn’t practical.”