• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Anger as Glasgow bowls club plans to sell off old tennis courts for townhouses

ANOTHER traditional sports club is planning to sell part of its prime site to a developer, claiming it faces the prospect of closure without the cash injection.

BEYOND REPAIR: John Clutterbuck, Partickhill Bowling Club secretary, says efforts to bring tennis courts back into use failed. Picture: Martin Shields
BEYOND REPAIR: John Clutterbuck, Partickhill Bowling Club secretary, says efforts to bring tennis courts back into use failed. Picture: Martin Shields

Partickhill Bowling Club in Glasgow's west end is proposing a new development of townhouses on the site of dilapidated tennis courts. It will reinvest money from the land sale in its club house.

It is a situation which many clubs are facing as they deal with falling membership and competition from more modern rivals.

The bowling club's decision comes after years of years of dwindling membership, facilities falling into severe disrepair and aborted plans by tennis clubs in the area to take over and rejuvenate the courts.

Club officials point to other successful projects where traditional sports clubs in the west end and south side of Glasgow have sold parts of their ground for residential development.

Examples include Hughenden Rugby Club in nearby Hyndland and Woodend Bowling and Tennis Club in Jordanhill.

But the proposals have sparked a negative local response, with a dedicated campaign group set up to halt the development.

With the deadline for objections to Glasgow City Council's planning department looming there is expected to be high-profile opposition to the development, amid claims it sets a local precedent for the loss of green space within a conservation area.

For several years sports clubs throughout Glasgow have sought financial security by selling land, inevitably sparking allegations of the erosion of open space across the city.

The Partickhill plans involve six new town houses, designed by Gareth Hoskins Architects and built by property development firm Noah, within the grounds.

The club claims the aim is to revitalise the club as a community hub offering a wider range of sports and activities.

It will also have what has been billed as a community garden, where new members can access a slice of green space in front of the proposed development.

But Ian Watson, chairman of the Partickhill Green Space Association, has claimed the plans should be halted while other potential uses for the tennis courts are explored.

Mr Watson, whose home overlooks the site and who joined the club a decade ago to help sustain it, cast doubt on both the hub proposal and the impact the sale will have on the club's long-term future.

He said: "This will not safeguard the club. The money would simply renovate the club house. They will have the same running-cost pressures in a few years as they have now.

"Locals feel alienated from the club because of this and to say it will become a hub is quite disingenuous, while the 'garden' is a small strip of grass.

"This isn't nimbyism. It's a concern that green space is being salami-sliced across the city and that clubs like Partickhill should be more adventurous in their approach to these issues instead of relying on development."

But John Clutterbuck, the club's secretary, said: "We're simply trying to regenerate the club by doing what other traditional sports clubs like Hughenden and Woodend have done.

"Efforts to bring the tennis courts back into use were on the go for a decade without success.

"They're now beyond repair and membership has dropped from over 100 to about 60. All sports clubs like ourselves are suffering, even many golf clubs.

"We're a viable concern which doesn't have the finances for the tennis courts but there's a very, very real concern that the club will not have a future."

If approved by the city council, Mr Clutterbuck said he hoped the development work would be carried out over the winter months.

Contextual targeting label: 
Sport

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

238677