Treasured Corby bowls club saved after year of uncertainty for members

The members had been given just a few weeks to quit their premises
Members of Corby Forest Bowls Club are delighted that the club is staying open following a successful campaign.Members of Corby Forest Bowls Club are delighted that the club is staying open following a successful campaign.
Members of Corby Forest Bowls Club are delighted that the club is staying open following a successful campaign.

Forest Bowling Club in Corby has been saved a year after pub bosses told members they’d have to leave their historic home.

The sports club was told this time last year that they had just one month to get out of their 72-year-old club house by landlord Star Pubs. It had been rumoured the pub company wanted to sell of the large piece of land behind The Raven pub in Rockingham Road.

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The Northants Telegraph backed the campaign to save the much-loved bowls club. The club also received support from town and unitary ward councillors and from MP Tom Pursglove.

In December last year, the 60 members were told that their club had been named an ‘asset of community value’ by North Northants Council, meaning they’d have first refusal on the land if it were ever to be sold.

Now, landlord Star Pubs have backed down and offered the club a new 10-year lease with no rent rise.

President David Incles stated: “This is a great family club with a future. We have grown membership this year and we are challenging for trophies and this is just brilliant news which will allow the club to go on to greater things.”

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Councillor Mark Pengelly (Lab, Lloyds) who has been fighting to keep the club open, said: “After many emails and meetings we were not letting this matter go away.

"I am pleased the brewery have seen common sense and given the club a future.

"I would like to thank my colleagues at Corby Town Council, the ward members, the MP and the community – plus the press, especially the Northants Telegraph – for their great support and I will be asking the brewery to change the ten year lease to 50 years so the club can plan ahead.”

Despite worries over their future, the club had a great season on the greens this year, winning the men’s county four and reaching the quarter finals of the nationals in the fours, played at Leamington Spa, ‘Wembley of bowls’. They also reached the midlands county semi final in Nottingham.

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Member Ann Warrender, who is on the club’s gardening committee, said: “The club helps keep the social life for members in place. From weekly bowls practice to one o’clock club, we play domino and cards and it is a community club. We have a great membership and would love to welcome some new ones with this great piece of new.”

NNC ward councillor Willie Colquhoun (Lab, Lloyds) spoke to all the members on Saturday and said: “This is a massive step forward. Well done to you all and special thanks to Mark for keeping the pressure on the breweries.”

Committee member Scott Melville said: “It’s fantastic news. It means so much to club members. This club is a family club and now we can plan for our 75th anniversary in 2025 knowing we have a home.”

A Star Pubs spokeswoman said: “We recognise the importance of the bowling green to both the club and its members. Therefore we are pleased to offer Corby Forest Bowls Club a new agreement to help provide security to the club.”