Says their priority is to repurpose site for Putt in the Park
Gunnersbury Park Bowling Club before lockdown. Picture: Visit Gunnersbury
August 11, 2020
The company that runs Gunnersbury Park has signalled their intent to press ahead with the conversion of the bowling green into mini-golf course.
Gunnersbury Estate (2026) CIC has stated that its priority remains to hand over the site to Putt in the Park as the Gunnersbury Park Bowls Club’s licence expired at the beginning of the year.
A statement by the company says, “While their first application was unsuccessful, our developer partner will be re-submitting their proposal for planning permission in the immediate future, with our full backing, and we hope they will be able to open in spring 2021.”
It is claimed that the course would bring 30,000 visitors annually to the park and, at a time when the CIC has lost £600,000 worth of income per annum due to the impact of Covid-19 and the destruction of the café by fire, this will be a welcome addition to revenue.
This April Hounslow Council planners refused an application to convert the bowling club saying that no justification was submitted for the loss of the bowling pavilion and club. However, it was noted that if satisfactory evidence was received ‘for loss of vacant bowling club’, the application may be approved.
Bowls club member Bela Cunha said, "They've not been allowed to do what they wanted, but they're going to 'press ahead' regardless with ruining the green anyway! Surely this is an outrageous abuse of power. But, of course, the CIC acts with complete impunity, in the shadows, with no transparency and no oversight."
The bowls club has occupied the site since 1931. Club members say they were given verbal assurances by the CIC that their presence in the park was valued. However, towards the end of last year the CIC stated that given ‘the relatively small and declining numbers who have exclusive use of the facility’ they were exploring new uses for the green. The members say that they were refused permission by the CIC to use the green for practice after lockdown was eased on the grounds that it was too dangerous.