Bowls and tennis to cost more

Left to right: Lurgan DUP Councillors Carla Lockhart, Mark Baxter and Stephen Moutray MLA pictured at Lurgan Park pavilion after successfully campaigning to reduce proposed costs to local sporting clubs
Left to right: Lurgan DUP Councillors Carla Lockhart, Mark Baxter and Stephen Moutray MLA pictured at Lurgan Park pavilion after successfully campaigning to reduce proposed costs to local sporting clubs
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THE COST of cricket, bowling and tennis in the district looks set to double.

However lobbying by local clubs may result in Craigavon Borough Council phasing in price hikes over three years to soften the blow.

Currently it costs the Council around £12,800 just to maintain and run the bowling green while the clubs pay on average around £1,250 per year.

At the moment it costs around £19.50 for an adult season ticket and it is proposed to increase this to £30. A concession season ticket costs £15.50 and the Council want to increase it to £25 and the hire of the pavilion would rise by £55 to £300.

The Council had asked for benchmarks to see what other clubs had been charging.

Currently the cheapest place to go bowling with an adult season ticket is Armagh at £38 while Belfast and Banbridge both charge more than £49.

Ulster Unionist Alderman Mrs Meta Crozier said that when the figures were broken down they were fair increases.

The Parks Development Officer revealed that the Council was trying to find middle ground with the clubs in relation to the price hike.

Cricket costs Craigavon Council around £9,000 per year and fees vary between the different grounds. A season payment at Lurgan Park is the most expensive at £317 while Tannaghmore and Gordon both cost £225. The price per match and training sessions cost £29.

Victoria Cricket Club raised strong concerns claiming the club could no longer exist if the price hike was enforced.

The yearly hire of the pavilion for tennis is to double from £200 to £400 and this is to be phased in over three years.

One of the DUP councillors Alderman Gladys McCullough said she thought it a ‘big jump’ for any club.

However Craigavon Council’s Business Manager said that the rise was appropriate and that Tennis Fundamentals were a private company.

Lurgan DUP Councillors have welcomed the decision by council to back their calls for a significant reduction in the annual increase in tariffs for sporting activities at Lurgan Park.

Speaking in a joint statement Alderman Stephen Moutray with Cllrs Mark Baxter and Carla Lockhart said: “The initial proposals coming forward to council were for very significant increases in the cost to people playing bowls, cricket and tennis.

“We took the view that these proposed charges were unacceptably high in the current economic climate when money is scarce. For instance among the measures proposed was an immediate introduction of a £400 charge for use of the pavilion. We opposed this and successfully pressed for a 50% reduction in those proposed tariffs along with a built in annual review.

“When it came to proposed tariffs for cricket, the initial proposal coming forward was to change from an annual flat fee to a charge person per game – a pay as you play proposal. This would have resulted in an increase over 650% for clubs.

“We argued successfully against this proposal and in favour of retaining an annual flat fee, which even allowing for any increase will be much lower than what was originally proposed.”