Horncastle Town Council tell bowls club - you can’t bank on us!

Horncastle Bowls Club - knocked back in bid for a �500 donation to go towards repairing a fence. Picture: John Aron.
Horncastle Bowls Club - knocked back in bid for a �500 donation to go towards repairing a fence. Picture: John Aron.

Town councillors in Horncastle were hardly ‘bowled over’ by an application for a donation of £500 to a local sports club after hearing: ‘You’ve got enough money yourselves.’

Horncastle Outdoor Bowls Club applied for the cash to go towards repairing a fence at its Hobson’s Green site.

Initially, councillors proposed handing over the full £500 but slashed that figure in half after it was revealed the club had ‘significant funds’ in the bank.

Councillors also turned down an application from the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, saying the organisation ‘did nothing’ to help the town.

They did agree to donate £500 to Horncastle’s Theatre’s ‘Young Stagers’, saying the group was popular and performed an important cultural role.

The bowls club site is one of several areas of land - and buildings - the town council will ‘inherit’ from East Lindsey District Council as part of a ‘transfer of assets.’

Coun Alan Lockwood, speaking at last month’s town council meeting, led the opposition to the request for £500, saying he knew it was ‘not a poor club.’

Clerk Amanda Bushell told councillors details submitted by the bowls club in support of the application showed they had ‘significant funds.’

She said it was unfair to reveal the exact figures in a public meeting.

Coun Lockwood went on to say he was concerned about the possible financial impact all the asset transfers would have on the town council’s finances - and Council Tax bills.

He said: “We have all sat around this table and heard these assets will not cost us anything.

“We are talking about a lot of assets - a lot of land and quite a few buildings.

“If we have to take on the cost of maintaining and repairing all these assets, then it is going to impact on our budgets.”

Coun Lockwood added he was concerned that if the council helped out the bowls club, it could prompt similar requests.

Mrs Bushell told councillors the final terms of the asset transfer would be agreed soon but were still at the legal stage.

Mayor Coun Fiona Martin assured Coun Lockwood that tenants of the ‘assets’ would be responsible for maintenance and repairs - not the town council.

She explained there was nothing to stop any clubs or organisations applying for donations, even after the asset transfer was completed.

Coun Lockwood admitted his views might not be popular, and even urged fellow councillors not to support him.

Coun Bill Aron proposed donating £250 to the bowls club and that was agreed on a 4-3 vote.

Regarding the Young Stagers, Coun Brian Burbidge said it involved around 60-90 children who ‘loved every minute’ of sessions.

Coun Burbidge also led the opposition to the CAB request although several councillors asked what the organisation actually did for the town.

Coun Burbidge said the CAB had failed to pass on a warning about potentially dangerous toys that were on sale at the town’s Christmas Market.

He added he was ‘very much opposed’ to making a donation.

Regarding the Young Stagers, Coun Brian Burbidge said it catered for between 60-90 children who ‘loved every minute’ of sessions and were ‘well-trained’,