ONE OF the best bowling clubs in the country which has been running for almost 80 years has been told to leave its home by September by the new owner of the land.
The King George V Bowling Club was based at the pub of the same name and, when it became The Emerald restaurant, the owners then let the bowlers continue playing on the surface off Tessall Lane rent free – only having to pay for the electricity and water it used.
The club has 60 members in South Birmingham but is used by close to 150 people of all ages, including family members and guests.
It also has a fantastic record in competitions – it is currently top of the Warwick and Worcestershire league and the Midlands Premier League and last year it lost in the final of the National Team Championships.
Members assumed, when the new owners took over the building, it would enjoy the same relationship as it had with those at The Emerald but that has not been the case.
Club captain Tom Pritchard said: “They said they wanted us to pay rent, which is fine, but the figure they have suggested we were not happy with and the figure we have suggested they are not happy with.
“The next thing was, they turned round and said they wanted us out by September.”
Longbridge councillors Andy Cartwright and Ian Cruise, along with Northfield MP Richard Burden, have waded into the row in a bid to find an amicable solution to enable the club to continue serving the community but as yet, no compromise has been reached.
Coun Cartwright said he said he could not understand the new owners actions, adding that the bowling club gave them a great chance to put themselves and their business at the heart of the community.
“I was totally shocked that the bowling club could have to move – it has been there for a long time.
“It has bowlers from juniors, right through to seniors and is a big part of the Longbridge and Northfield community.
“It is a top club which gives a lot of enjoyment to a lot of people.”
Mr Burden said: “King George V Bowls Club has a proud heritage in Northfield and I think the only reasonable way to proceed is by getting all parties round the table to find a solution that everyone can live with.
“I’ve written to the owner to suggest this. I’ve yet to have a reply, but I hope he responds positively.”
The Standard attempted to contact the owner of the building but had not received a reply by the time of going to press.
Anyone who can offer help to the bowling club is urged to call Andy Cartwright on 07557 287427.