Members of a York bowls club have been left “devastated” after Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust unveiled plans to demolish the building for housing.
As first revealed by YorkMix, the trust has submitted plans to demolish of three buildings in Tanners Yard, off Huntington Road, including the New Earswick Bowls Club.
The club has around 500 members and is considered a social hub, hosting a variety of community groups, as well as being a venue for parties, wedding receptions and funerals at affordable rates.
JRHT have submitted plans to City of York Council which would see the demolition of three buildings in Tanners Yard, off Huntington Road, including the bowls club.
Spokesman Ian Carr said: “The majority of members are over 60 and it’s like a little social community hub as well as a bowling club.
“They are thinking ‘where will we go’? A lot of them are quite devastated.”
A petition against the plans, which would see the club having to leave by the end of May 2023, has been signed by more than 600 members and residents.
The club, which hosts national and international bowls tournaments, was granted asset of community value status by the council in 2020.
A JRHT spokesperson said they were ready to work with the club to find a new home, but Mr Carr said the relationship had broken down and dialogue was now benign conducted via the trust’s lawyers.
“If they’re willing, with great resources to fund a smaller bowling club, that will be superb, but they’ve never mentioned that,” Mr Carr added.
New Earswick was planned and built by York businessman and philanthropist Joseph Rowntree in 1904 as a self-governing garden village, with its own facilities and green space providing an alternative to the overcrowded and insanity housing available elsewhere in the city.
Mr Carr said the area would struggle to cope with new housing.
He added: “There has been tremendous support from residents of Huntington and New Earswick who recognise that the club is a community asset and are concerned about the prospect of more houses in an already congested area and where local doctors, dentists, schools and roads are already overburdened.”
A JRHT spokesperson said: “The building is almost beyond its useful life. Genuinely affordable homes are in short supply in York.
“We think the site is better suited to providing up to 30 homes on social rents and for shared ownership. They will make a big difference to many families.
“As with all the other places we build homes, the local community will be closely involved throughout the planning stages”.
The spokesperson added: “We know that the club is valued by its members. We stand ready to work with the management team to find it a new home.
“There is plenty of time before the lease expires in June 2023”.