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Bowls parking to stay at Leamington’s Victoria Park

Members of the Friends of Victoria Park with Leamington councillor Bill Gifford handing in their petition last year.

Members of the Friends of Victoria Park with Leamington councillor Bill Gifford handing in their petition last year.

Campaigners intent on keeping Victoria Park in Leamington free of cars during bowls events have lost their battle for now - but they say they are determined to carry on fighting.

Warwick District Council’s executive committee on Wednesday approved proposals to use the park as the designated parking area for participants in the national bowls championships for 28 days every summer from this year.

Members of the Friends of Victoria Park have been campaigning hard since last summer to put an end to the practice - and they have succeeded in persuading the council to move all caravans, in which players stay during the event, out of the park and into the Old Leamingtonians rugby ground instead.

And the group now has the support of the Central Warwickshire branch of the National Childbirth Trust, which has stated that bowls events have forced it to relocate events such as toddler walks, which was an inconvenience to those who did not drive.

Speaking at the meeting on Wednesday, Friends member David Adams argued that moving the parking to Covent Garden car park in the town centre instead would be better for the town’s economy.

Speaking after the meeting - at which councillors agreed to look into the option of offering incentives to bowls participants to park elsewhere - fellow Friends member Bridget Rendell said: “We are disappointed but the fact that they agreed to look into offering these incentives offered a little ray of hope. We are going to carry on with our campaign.”

District councillor Stephen Cross, responsible for policy on culture, said: “The area used for parking will be reduced by 45 per cent and there will be no caravans sited on the park for future championships. Victoria Park remains open to all park users, with minimal disruption throughout the 28 days of the events.”

 

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