Bowling centre is given cash lifeline

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The new Newton Stewart Community Indoor Bowling Club was given a lifeline this week when it was agreed to ringfence £29,000 for a month to allow the group to prepare a business plan.

But time is ticking for the bowlers after they failed to raise the deposit to secure the purchase of the defunct Indoor Bowling Centre in Minnigaff by April 24, the deadline set by the owner, whose solicitors are putting the property back on the open market.

The indoor bowling club had applied to the Wigtown Area Committee for £29,000 from its discretionary budget to cover 53 per cent of the £55,000 it needs towards the deposit for a mortgage for the property. The remaining funding is being sourced through debenture capital raised by club members. But council officers at Wednesday’s meeting said there was “a lack of detail” in the business plan received and they had to defer a decision until the information required was received. Recently the club said it hoped to make a profit of between £8000 and £10,000 annually if the centre was staffed by volunteers, but this came through too late to be considered at the meeting.

Councillors were fully behind the concept of re-opening the indoor bowling centre.

Mid Galloway councillor Alistair Geddes said: “I am totally supportive of what they are trying to achieve and to get the facility running again.”

Fellow Mid Galloway councillor Jim McColm added: “It is a purpose-built facility and the wider community could benefit from a relatively small investment.”

And councillor Graham Nicol added: “I am delighted a way forward has been found and that a suitable business plan is in the pipeline. Hopefully, this will secure the bowling facility for all time in the Newton Stewart area.”

Bill Murdoch from the community indoor bowling club said: “I was very disappointed but at least they have ringfenced the money. Time is of the essence and we will now contact the council to find out what the problem was with the business plan.”