LETTER: All’s well that ends well for club?

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Situation analysis and the decision making process is an important part of business planning, so one would assume that Horsham District Council have people who are able to manage this procedure.

Let’s have a recap:

We can’t afford to repair Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre so we’ll knock it down. Protests were made. Right, we won’t do that. We’ll build a new one further back and build on the old site. At the same time we’ll build a new bowls club and build on that old site too. Money made from the building project will provide us with finances for the new facilities.

No, actually we’ll put the bowls club in the Leisure Centre. We’ll talk with them about our plans for well over a year and say what we can do to keep the club going. A club needs at least six rinks, we know that. Actually, let’s just give them four rinks or we might put an ice rink there instead.

Protests were made. Letters, emails, petitions, a march through the town centre, local radio coverage and even BBC South Today. So we’ll give them six rinks after all. I bet they will be appeased. And we won’t throw them out of their purpose-built club that is the envy of the county next July as planned. We’ll give them a two year extension and put them in the Leisure Centre before we take apart their building.

Actually we won’t build on the bowls club site after all. We’ll have more retail outlets!

Mr Chowen was brave enough to come to the Horsham District Indoor Bowls Club AGM where he faced a fair bit of hostility. Thank you for that. Are we appeased? No. Are we pleased to lose a wonderful facility that was purpose built by a previous council? No. Are we pleased to be part of the Leisure Centre? Well honestly, what choice do we have?

Mr Chowen mentioned that the council didn’t want to be left with a white elephant if the bowls club failed. With the latest figures regarding retail outlets and empty buildings, it is more likely that the white elephant will be where they propose to put shops and where our club currently is sited.

The emphasis is on the word ‘propose’. Nothing is as yet in writing and the only definitive answer Mr Chowen gave when asked for written assurances, is we would soon be given notice that our lease will expire in July next year.

Perhaps HDC will consider putting the retail outlets in the Leisure Centre and leaving us alone? After all, as Mr Chowen said at our meeting, if badminton fails then you just rub out the lines and put in basketball instead.

If the shops fail then other things can perhaps be incorporated in the Leisure Centre? Bit of a stretch? Probably. You may rest assured of one thing Horsham District Council, we will do our utmost to get what we need to function successfully as a club, and we will work hard to achieve our goals and build for the future.

Mr Chowen came across as a good public speaker. But is he speaking for the public? People in public office are charged with making decisions for the community and we recognise that you can’t please all of the people all of the time.

However, if situation analysis is carried out correctly then the decisions made should stand up to scrutiny. We have a right to expect honesty and integrity and look forward to written assurances from HDC in the near future. Preferably at the same time as they give notice to quit our lovely building.

You never know though. They may decide to let us stay where we are and it will be a case of ‘All’s Well That Ends Well’.

I write as a member of Horsham District Indoor Bowls Club.


Little Bridges Close, Southwater