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Bowls club to lose its green after not buying enough beer at local pub

Richard Garman, front, president of the Heath House Bowls Club, with some of the members outside Heath House pub where they could have to leave because they do not buy enough drinks. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Richard Garman, front, president of the Heath House Bowls Club, with some of the members outside Heath House pub where they could have to leave because they do not buy enough drinks. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2015

A Norwich bowls club could be without a green next season -because its members are not buying enough beer.

Landlord Malcolm McCann said the club needed to support the pub. Picture: Denise BradleyLandlord Malcolm McCann said the club needed to support the pub. Picture: Denise Bradley

Heath House Pub landlord Malcolm McCann told the club it has until the end of the season to move off its green on Gertrude Road. For the past 16 years the pub has let the Heath House Bowling Club use its lawn free of charge.

But Mr McCann said the members were not returning the favour by putting money behind the bar. He added: “There are people in that club who I have never seen come in here. Twenty people might play and I will get around six in the pub. I keep telling them ‘use it, or lose it’. This is a business, not a charity, and these are tough times for pubs. I could put a bouncy castle on there and make more money than I do now.”

In some cases Mr McCann said that club members would use the green and then head to a different pub for a drink. And while he was grateful to the players who did support his business, he was left with little choice but to use the land for other activities.

Club president Richard Garman, 81, said: “We went there last week and the landlord said he was closing the green at the end of season and that we have until November to move out all of our equipment.

“The problem is that some members were not using the pub; they would play bowls and then go somewhere else. Quite a few of us go into the bar, but some people play two or three nights a week and can’t afford to go in each time.”

The 30-strong club has been playing at the pub green since the early 1960s.

And although it does not pay any rent, it spends about £1,000 to keep the lawn maintained.

Mr Garman, who was the pub’s landlord from 1984 to 1991, said he was concerned about the club’s future.

He added: “We have to decide what we will now do. Will we stay as a club or will we go our own separate ways and let it break up.

“I was rather disappointed when he told us. I have been playing bowls for 50 years and it is part of my life.”

The group is hold an extraordinary meeting next month to discuss its options.

Are you being moved from your sports facilities? Call Luke Powell on 01603 772684.

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