Thursday, 24 April 2008


The photograph below shows the side of Broadstairs & St Peters Bowls Club in The Memorial Recreation Ground and where there could be an access road put in from Lawn Road. (Note how an established privet hedge has almost hidden a 2m green security fence. The photograph below shows the back of the Clubhouse where it has been proposed to put a private members car-park and two of the three trees that would be cut down. (Notice how obtrusive a 2m green security fence can be when not screened).


My story begins with shoe-polish; to be more exact ‘Cherry Blossom Shoe Polish’.

Back in 1906 two brothers Dan and Charles Mason opened a factory in Chiswick to make shoe polish and made a great deal of money. They were also philanthropists and housed their workers, educated them and instituted a 44 hour working week. Dan bought a house in Broadstairs and lived there in the 1920s and amongst a number of philanthropic gestures, gave Broadstairs its Memorial Recreation Ground by the Station off Lawn Road and my sources tell me he was also a keen bowls player.

In the intervening years since his death, it is reputed that Broadstairs & St Peters Bowl’s Club has gone up-market and consider themselves a smarter ‘cut’ of bowl’s player. So when TDC came along and had the temerity to put pay bays in Lawn Road for parking, the members rushed a planning application towards Cecil Square and the offices of TDC for their own exclusive and private car park in The Memorial Recreation Ground.(F/TH/08/0195). Why they should bother when Lawn Road is empty most of the time and TDC's bays seem to be boycotted, eludes me.

They wanted to put parking at the back of The Club House and an access down the side from Lawn Road to it. This would encroach into the rest of the Memorial Recreation Ground, require three trees to be cut down and needed a 2m high green security fence to keep out the ‘plebs’ in The Memorial Recreation Ground. On their application they also claimed they owned or controlled the land. My sources tell me it is held in trust for the people of Broadstairs by TDC and not the Town Council.

On Monday 3 March, the planning application was rejected (this is for you , you fence watchers in Culmer’s Land) on the basis that “ The 2m high fencing is considered too intrusive for a public park". What a classic illustration of one rule for the people of Thanet and one for TDC, as it put a 2.4m galvanised fence into a public park! The odd thing was that the Planning Committee obviously did not bother to look at the pics given them as they would have seen 2m green security fencing already surrounding The Bowls Club as my photographer's pictures show.

Anyway, to get back to the point, the planning application has now been withdrawn. The big question is will it come back with a smaller fence? The Planning Committee didn’t seem to be worried about laying concrete to make a 'private members' car park in The Memorial Recreation Ground and grabbing more of it to tarmac over for a private access road off Lawn Road.

This farce is worse than ‘Toy Town’ and Larry the Lamb. A simple, less costly and more environmentally sound solution is for ‘The Bowling Toffs’ of Broadstairs & St Peter’s Club to pay TDC for special permits to allow its members to park in Lawn Road for extended times beyond the present 2hr maximum; there's plenty of space.
Easy, really, and does not upset the locals on the other side of the fence.


Anonymous said...

Yet another example of a prospective landgrab without justification. Why should the bowls club members get special privileges over the rest of us. This park is well-used and was given to the townsfolk to enjoy in perpetuity not just a select few who happen to follow a particular sport. We can't afford to lose greenspaces so it's important to keep an eye on future proposed developments here.

Ian J said...

Because bowls people are better than the rest of us and we should be grateful that they let us breathe air that has been near them and the bowls club.

Please TDC allow these better people leave their cars anywhere they want, they can park in my kitchen if they want, and I will piggyback them to the bowls club.

Oh! The joy of even have such a stuck-up, arrogant, pompous bunch of jerks like this in Thanet makes me want to swoon!

Anonymous said...

Apparently you get told off at this club if you don't have the right crease in your white trousers etc. I thought the days of the old colonial types in Thanet had gone. When I first moved here in 1971 and was looking at local literature on what was on offer I found something that promoted itself as 'ideal for those on furlough from the colonies'!! Bowls clubs nationally are trying to attract a younger clientele but not here, it seems.

Anonymous said...

i would just like to say i was outraged at reading your comments about the above bowls club. My dad plays there an there always trying to get younger an new players. An about the parking thats one of the reasons why people wont play there due to that fact that there is no where to park so how are they meant to get more members an people coming to visit an to play there when theres no where to park!

think about it before you speak

Archie said...

from the comments said:- its council owned and not a private club therefore anybody can use it if they pay an appropriate fee like other council facilities. Or, join the club if you like the game that much.
The games they play seem to take all afternoon. so the local parking meters do not allow for the old bowlers to park outside and play their game.
I see this as another council funded (back door)way of closing down another of its local ametities without any thought to the local area.AND IT SEEMS IT HAS THE BACKING OF THE LOCAL PUBLIC.Its a shame that the local people complained loud enough about the skatepark in st peters when the coucil wanted to increase the rates there. we should have let them close that as well. Once these facilities are gone we will never be able to recreate them whether we use them personally or not, they bring satisfaction to the small group who actually do.

As for attracting youngsters. I do know of a young lad that does/did bowl at Broadstairs. he paid hardly any money at all to play and was always encouraged to play on the weekend games and always played in the better teams.

i have said my bit and now , when the weather gets warmer i will go and test out my 'Keep Broadstairs, as Broadstairs' mini campain and see if they will show me how the game works at the bowls club( I did at the skatepark and they certainly made me welcome)

luke said...

Can I just reply to the Anonymous blogger stating that the bowls members wish special privilages for parking. I know a majority of the bowlers who play at Broadstairs and they are not in any way shape or form "snobs" as they were called in one bloggers comment. They are all well mannered, lovely, warm, residents of Broadstairs and St Peters, who are surely entitled to play a sport that they enjoy and is well within their capabilities, bearing in mind most are pensioners. Some are in their 80's and are quite a young 80+ as they play bowls as a form of exercise, and meet people of a like age and interest. Their kit is four bowls which is generally kept in the clubhouse but has to be carried to their cars for away games. Bearing in mind that a bowls ball weighs around 2pound each, (four bowls in a set), its not easy for these people to carry them any great distance. Now that the members have to pay for their parking, £1.70 for 2 hours, it is becoming expensive for some who have only pensions to live on. The fact is a bowls match can take about three hours to complete, so in fact they would need to pay for a 4 hour space. This is quite an expensive hobby three of four times a week out of a pension. The members only want to be able to park nearby to the club aid with the conveying of their kit. We are all getting older, and I hope I am in as good health as some of the Broadstairs members, some of which however are less fortunate health wise as they have new hips etc..
If anyone has interest in playing the typical village game of lawn bowls, then I am certain that the members will more than welcome you into their fold. During the summer it is a wonderful sport to play and is so much more difficult than looks at first sight. Go to the cub and sample a day with the members and judge them after having played against you. You will enjoy and who knows, when you get to retirement and want to do something to help with your health, you may wish to become a member. However , if you argue against the parking for the members then in years to come we will lose this wonderful facility to the council whi will now doubt sell out to planners and build flats which in turn will bring its own problems.
On another point, the visiting bowlers to Broadstairs bring revenue to the area. I am aware of numerous clubs on tour who return annually to Broadstairs as they like it so much. Some, after having visited to play a bowls match return on a holiday with grandkids, again a great piece of free publicity for the town. Let the bowls club continue, give our aging players a concession or do away altogether with this parking fiasco to enable the clubs members to be able to get to play their games without being too knackered before they reach the venue. Lets not forget, none of us are getting younger, we will all be their one day.

Archie said...

Well. After my last load of words i did go out and try bowling at Broadstairs.
The people that i met were far from snobs. they were encouraging and even came out to show me how to get started.They supplied the bowling balls and a pair of shoes and helped me get all the equipment to where i was going to play.They let me play in my jeans and said it was ok until i was a member if i ever wanted to join them.
I can now see why the older people like it as it not a strenuous sport but more of a game of skill. but the bowling balls were heavy and i can understand why they need to park close by.
I came back a few days later and saw loads of them playing. I didnt come across any snobbs, a few odd people maybe.
It would be a great loss if Broadstairs lost its Bowling area. brodstairs has so few facilities anymore.

Anonymous said...

I started playing at this club in 1984. I moved to London in 1987, although my father still plays there, and has been a member for over 40 years.
In that time membership has dropped dramatically and there is no doubt that a lack of adequate parking is a major factor in this decline and unless something is done, the club shall be lost forever.
The club NEEDS to raise finance in order to survive and it cannot raise finance without members. The cost of maintaining bowling greens runs into thousands of pounds per annum.
Young and old play bowls, I am 40 years old and have been playing for 24 years. It can be a highly competitive national sport or just a relaxing pastime, but whichever way you look at it it would be a tragedy if the club was to go the same way as it surroundings. To the left you have run down, utterly decrepid tennis courts and I think the council have a duty to try and help keep this very English game and integral part of Broadstairs history alive.
The clubs members are desperate to offer solutions but it takes two to tango.
As for the club being snobby, just turn up and have a go, you shall be made very welcome I'm sure as it is open to the public. The cost is about the same as a pint of beer for a couple of just might enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

As that "young person" named in a previous article. I am disgusted with the 'knowledge' about Broadstairs & St Peters Bowls Club. Having been a member at this club for around 2 years now, i was made to feel at home, with the vast majority of members being extremely helpful and welcoming. Broadstairs and St Peters bowls club usually have 2/3 visiting teams a week who come down to broadstairs early and then go and spend there money in broadstairs and not in places such as westwood cross. This brings in much needed revenue for the shops which are struggling to continue. Therefore the car park is needed to enourage teams to continue coming down. The car park is going to be built using the club funds and not the GENERAL PUBLICS funds. Hopefully people such as ian j will come down to the club and experience the: 'stuct-up, arrogant,pompous bunch of jerks'. Being a general public facility as well, we look forward to seeing 'archie' down the club where we will be more than willing to show him the game.

park ranger said...

Yet another example of a prospective landgrab without justification. Why should the bowls club members get special privileges over the rest of us. This park is well-used and was given to the townsfolk to enjoy in perpetuity not just a select few who happen to follow a particular sport. We can't afford to lose greenspaces so it's important to keep an eye on future proposed developments here.

Sorry for the repeat, but to bring things back a few months.

I have noticed that cars regularly drive down the side of this bowls club with little regard to the people playing in the park sometimes.

in the last two days they have had upwards of 30 cars a day parking in the park.
Is the council getting us ready to accept a full time car park for the bowls club or other venture.

Surely the park is for recreational use by the general public, not a car park or for elitist organisations.

Anonymous said...

I will look into these allegations of up to 30 cars a day etc., and post my findings, I am not a member of the club but have posted on here previously as was a member when I was younger.

My father is still a member so I will ask him about these '30 cars in a day'.

I see that you had to get in a little dig at the members by saying....

''I have noticed that cars regularly drive down the side of this bowls club with little regard to the people playing in the park sometimes''.

What on earth is that supposed to mean? Are you suggesting that children were nearly knocked over?

What utter nonsense!!!!!!!

Neverthelss you strike me as the sort of person who has a huge personal resentment here against the club, and you certainly aren't going to let small factors such as 'the truth' or 'facts' get in your way.

As Arnie used to say...I'll be back...LOL

Anonymous said...

I have to raise issue with the comments posted by Park Ranger in the last post.

Not only is 'up to 30 cars' a ridiculous exagerration, but to imply that the driving is dangerous is absurd.

The secretary sometimes drives around the back of the club and parks within the club compound. He is entitled to do this, as are deliveries for the bar etc.,

There is an end of season tournament when the park is used as a car park, this lasts for 2 weeks and has been permitted by the Council for the last 40 odd years.

If you do intend to post then fine, but please try to keep your remarks honest.

You obvously have issues with the bowls club and it's members and in my opinion are on a crusade against the club.

Albany said...

Thanks for writing this.