Barking bowls club facing uncertainty over parking problems

Ray Mansell with Barking and District Indoor Bowls Club chairman Peter Neighbour

Ray Mansell with Barking and District Indoor Bowls Club chairman Peter Neighbour - Credit: Archant

A bowls club could be facing closure as parking problems are forcing members away.

Ray Mansell with Barking and District Indoor Bowls Club chairman Peter Neighbour

Ray Mansell with Barking and District Indoor Bowls Club chairman Peter Neighbour - Credit: Archant

Barking and District Indoor Bowls Club had 400 members four years ago, but now has barely 250 and numbers are dropping fast.

Although there is a car park next to its Barking Park clubhouse, chairman Peter Neighbour, 82, of Buller Road, says people are making the most of the free spaces and leaving their vehicles to shop in Barking or even commute into work from the station – meaning those wanting to play bowls are often unable to park.

“About 95 per cent of our members are aged over 65 and a lot need the parking spaces next door to the club,” he said.

“We just want a system that would benefit us and allow members to park.


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“If we continue losing members the way we are doing there won’t be a club in a few years.”

A Barking and Dagenham Council spokesman said: “We will be introducing a display parking system. This process will start this month with the posting of a Traffic Management Order notice advising the public of the proposed changes.

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“The club are aware of this proposal.”

But Peter denies knowing about the plans.

He said: “Something needs to be done, but I hope they will speak to us first. We were not aware of these proposed changes.”

With many members in their 90s, retired electrician Ray Mansell, 72, insists the club is a crucial part of people’s lives.

He said: “It’s not just about the sport, it’s about people of a like mind having a day together. What are they supposed to do otherwise?”

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