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Bowlers to hold talks in bid to save their green.

CONCERNED members of a Cardiff bowls club are to hold talks with a council cabinet member this week to fight plans to shut several city bowling greens.

The number of council-run bowling greens will be cut from 13 to seven under draft budget plans, with Howard Gardens, Pentwyn, Llwynfedw Gardens, Maindy and Trelai all earmarked for closure.

Cardiff council hopes the closures will save the authority PS22,000 by having fewer games attendants and lower maintenance costs.

But members of the St Joseph's Sports and Social Club bowling group say they plan to meet with sports and leisure cabinet member Councillor Huw Thomas in a bid to keep Maindy bowling green open.

They hope to offer suggestions for a compromised solution so the Maindy bowling green could remain open and the council would still make savings.

Club members fear the entire St Joseph's club on Whitchurch Road, which has an active membership of 300 people across a variety of activities, could be forced to close if the bowling green shuts.

More than 250 people have signed a petition against Cardiff council plans to close the popular bowling green, while numerous councillors across North Cardiff have backed the campaign.

Gareth Bryon, a St Joseph's Sports and Social Club committee member and spokesman for the bowls section, said: "The knock-on effect to the whole club would be extremely detrimental. It might force St Joseph's to close altogether."

Mr Bryon said he was meeting with Coun Thomas to discuss the budget plans. He said: "We think that we could help them achieve some of that target just by thinking differently about how they administrate."

In a letter to Cardiff council, Gabalfa councillor Ed Bridges described the closure of Maindy bowling green as "drastic", saying it would lead to "the disbanding of a strong and growing club".

He said: "In practice, the change will force the club to close down and will deprive much enjoyment and active involvement in a sport that the older community in Gabalfa and surrounding areas enjoy so much."

A Cardiff council spokeswoman said: "The proposed budget for the council is going to be outlined at the meeting of the full council tomorrow. This is a proposed budget which will not be set until February 28.

Proposing the 2013-2014 budget has been extremely difficult as the council face steeper cuts than ever before, which means some difficult decisions will need to be taken to ensure that our frontline services, such as schools and social services, are protected.

"Where facilities are closing we will be looking for expressions of interest from outside groups and organisations as well as co-operatives and social enterprises to try to ensure they continue."

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Gareth Bryon, of St Joseph's Sports and Social Club, outside Maindy bowling green PICTURE: Peter Bolter (c)
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 13, 2013
Words:466
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