Bowlers’ hopes for centre

Members of the bowling club set up to buy the indoor bowling centre in Minnigaff may challenge any plans the new owner has to change it from a community sports facility.

Efforts by the Gazette this week to discover the identity of the new owner of the indoor bowling centre in Minnigaff have failed.

Former owner Murray Findlay was advised by his legal representatives not to reveal the purchaser at this stage, despite various rumours going round the town.

One group particularly keen to discover who has bought the building are the members of the Newton Stewart Community Indoor Bowling Club after their attempt to buy the facility failed.

Club president Alistair McMillan said yesterday: “If they are not going to keep it as a bowling centre, we would try to get Dumfries and Galloway Council on board to see if there is anything we can do to ensure the continuation of indoor bowling in the area, as I would imagine they will have to apply for a change of use.”

The bowling centre closed down in October last year after a deal had been agreed between Mr Findlay and local businessman Chris Cadman-Goodwin, but when that fell through the centre was offered to the new bowling club by Mr Findlay at a reduced price of £175,000 on the condition they came up with the money by May 6. But when that failed to happen the building was put back on the open market.

In June the bowlers managed to secure a grant of £29,000 from the Wigtown 
Area Committee towards acquiring a mortgage to purchase the property. But the mortgage deal never materialised and their original plans to have the bowling centre bought and 
reopened “by the time the season starts in September” turned to dust.

Mid Galloway councillor Alistair Geddes said: “I would dearly like to see the premises continue in use as a bowling centre as it is a much needed and greatly valued facility, not just for Wigtownshire but south-west Scotland. If the new owner is keen to pursue that objective, the council would do everything it realistically and legitimately can to assist him.”

Fellow Mid Galloway councillor Graham Nicol said he would “thoroughly encourage the new owner to keep it as a bowling centre if that was a possibility.”