Bowled over by a hike in fees

A BRECHIN sports club remains under threat despite Angus Council offering to give the group a reduction in the increased charge.

Brechin Inch Bowling Club held an extraordinary general meeting last week to consider the levels of fees which the club would have to levy to meet the substantial increase in charges due to be paid to Angus Council for the use of Brechin Leisure centre three days per week.

Angus Council had proposed to increase the fees by £699.80, taking it up to £6771.80.

After raising the matter with the Angus Council the local authority agreed to reduce this increase by £500.

However, for the club this decrease may not be enough.

Stan West, president of the club said: “We had another meeting on Wednesday, March 3 and we are just not sure whether or not we are going to be able to carry on.

“It is just becoming too expensive for us.

“The council has agreed to reduce the levy by £500 but it is still not enough.

“This means that they are still increasing the fees by £200 and we just can not afford that.

“We now have to increase our fees to £80 per person. This is an increase of £10 and we are old age pensioners, many who have low or fixed incomes.

“It is costing us over £6000 to bowl for six months.

“At the moment we have 35 members but, by the start of next session, we will only have about 30, if that.

“This is just due to the cost. The committee will be losing five members and as president I have to find people who will be willing to step in and do these jobs. I just can’t see this happening.

“Over the last five years the club’s fees have increased by about 40% and with each annual increase the club has lost members who have been unable to pay the increased burden.

“This has meant that there an even bigger burden on those members who remain at the club and it is not just paying the fees,. You have a lot of fundraising to undertake as well just to keep the club going.

“At the moment we have enough money to last us three months, if everyone can pay the £80.

“After that we will just have to wait and see but I do not know if we are going to be able to continue after the three months.

“We appreciate that in these difficult times councils are strapped for cash, but this decision by Angus Council, which prices Brechin Sports Centre out of the market, does nothing but reduce its much-needed incomes. It simply does not make sense.”

Councillor Bob Myles said: “I was at the recent meeting where the club members discussing how they would carry one and they did appreciate that the fees they are paying are in line with what other people are paying.

“They are struggling for membership which is a big problem.

“It would help their situation quite a lot of they could find more members.

“What they are trying to do is pay for their time on the rink with less people. This is making it very difficult for them and it is putting more pressure on those people who are currently members.

“Anyone who wishes to take up bowling will find that it is a lovely pastime and although it tends to be slightly older people who play does not have to be the case as people of any age can take part. You do not to have any special skills, so anyone can play.”