THE NATIONAL bowling championships which boost Warwick district’s economy by some £2millon annually could be in jeopardy – over car parking times.
Bowls England – based at Leamington’s Victoria Park – holds weekly games on the parks five bowling greens, and hosts both the men’s and women’s national championship each summer.
Many bowlers park on nearby Archery Road which currently has four hours free parking but Warwickshire County Council (WCC) has revealed plans to reduce the free parking time to two hours between 8am and 8pm.
Bowls England chief executive Tony Allcock says would make the greens difficult to access for elderly players.
Mr Allcock, a former champion player himself who also lives in Leamington, said: “I do not know what advantages this would have for the council. The facility for four hours is well used and tournaments bring millions to the local economy.
“We have to consider facility as many of our players are elderly and cannot park far away.
“If people can’t park they might move to a more user-friendly club, there are around 2,500 across the rest of the country.”
The road is the only one in Leamington with a four hour limit. It was put in place in 1997 around the time of the World Bowls Championships.
But some of those who live on Archery Road say the problem is a minority of bowlers who park inconsiderately. They also believe shoppers are using the road as a way to escape parking charges in the town.
The council say the restrictions would be put in place to limit parking by bowling club users.
A decision is set to be reached within the next few weeks now the consultation period has ended.
A WCC spokesman said: “Officers are collating the responses in order to report them back to transport and planning.
“They will consider the responses made and then make a decision whether to proceed with these proposals.”