Fury erupts over sale of bowling club for £1m

Whitecraigs Bowling Club members are set to cash in with sale of clubhouse and land.
Whitecraigs Bowling Club members are set to cash in with sale of clubhouse and land.

There has been a furious reaction to the news that Whitecraigs Bowling Club has been sold to Mactaggart and Mickel for £1m despite vociferous local objection.

The club has been under fire for some time over its plans to sell off the clubhouse and land, with protestors learning only recently, that the previous proposed purchaser, McCarthy and Stone, had pulled out of a deal believed to have been worth £3m.

The Extra has had sight of a letter sent by the club president, Iain Campbell, to all club members, who are now set to receive a substantial windfall from the sale. The letter confirms the sale price of £1m, and goes on to say ‘we will be arranging a substantial interim payment for all members as per the agreed distribution.’

The letter also thanked their legal representatives for arranging to secure an early release from the clubs contract with McCarthy and Stone, and went on to wish the new developers well and stated they were confident the site would be developed in a propitious manner.

Paul Masterton MP joined forces with MSP, Jackson Carlaw saying: ”The confirmation of the sale of the bowling club to Mactaggart and Mickel will leave residents disappointed again at the loss of this ‘original’ Broom facility if not surprised.

“Newton Mearns has faced substantial development over the last few years, which has caused clear pressures on our roads, schools and other community services.

“We will be writing to Mactaggart and Mickel to seek clarity on their plans and to seek a meeting in early course.

“Mactaggart and Mickel designed and built the hugely regarded Broom Estate back in the 1930s so we will meet them very much in the expectation and hopeful of a sympathetic proposed development on this iconic site.”

Bowls Scotland’s CEO Alan McMillan commented: “As the national governing body, we are greatly disappointed that the members and committee of Whitecraigs Bowling Club have decided to ‘sell out’ to a developer, despite our offer of support and the support available from many local residents and organisations.

“It is a sporting facility that will be lost to future generations invariably meaning that children and adults from the surrounding area will not be able to experience the benefits and merits of being part of their own local bowling club.

“We at Bowls Scotland are all very disappointed”

A spokeswoman for the Broom Community Action Group, said: “We are delighted that our campaign has led McCarthy & Stone to withdraw their interest in the bowling club site. We remain firmly of the view that such a development would have been completely out of keeping with the character of the conservation area.

It is regrettable that the Bowling club have remained commited to selling and have now vacated the site.

Even as recently as spring of this year, Bowls Scotland stated that in their view, having had sight of the club accounts, the bowling club remained viable.

We are however hopeful that McTaggart & Mickel, a local company with strong links within the community, will propose something for the site which is sympathetic to local interests and in keeping with the character of the conservation area and will maintain the site properly in the meantime.”

A Mactaggart & Mickel spokesperson said: “Mactaggart & Mickel recently acquired Whitecraigs Bowling Club. The site was put forward for sale as membership was dwindling and there was an over-provision of bowling clubs in the area. No plans have been finalised as we are still reviewing several options to hopefully redevelop the site. We will of course engage with the local community in due course.”

At the time of going to press the club had failed to respond to our requests for comment.