Questions about the bowling club land remain unanswered
16 February, 2017
• MAY I fully endorse the comments about the Mansfield Bowling Club (Bowling club bid for luxury housing gets Whitehall approval, February 2).
There are lots of questions the wider community have about what happened at the club over the past six years. In particular, how did three directors of the club who do not seem to have been bowlers manage to take over its running and what say did the wider membership have in this?
Why did the club close the outside bowling green at a time when it was in regular use, allow the grounds to become a wasteland and refuse offers by locals to help maintain them? Why did they refuse to engage with the community and to work with it in order to widen its offering to residents? There is a lot of scepticism in the area as to the intentions of the directors, supported by the fact that one of them told councillors and members of the local community when we spoke to them in 2012, that they intended to make money from the deal with the developers.
The people who set up Mansfield Bowling Club knew this was prime land in Dartmouth Park and the bowling club was vulnerable to being sold off. That is why the objectives of the club were clearly set out and why articles of association were written to prevent just such an eventuality, specifying that the proceeds should, upon a winding up of the club or dissolution, go to other sporting activities or Bowls England. How did the company directors get round these articles? Can an emergency meeting have been enough?
How many members have profited and by how much, and were particular directors rewarded for having brought in and worked with the developers?
The directors have refused to respond to such questions but surely given that the club was established for the benefit of the community and is an asset of community value local residents are entitled to answers.
These questions are in the public interest, as it cannot be right that the running of private sports clubs which own land in increasingly wealthy areas of London can be taken over with individuals then profiting personally when clubs are sold off.
I know that the community in Dartmouth Park will continue to ask these questions until they get satisfactory answers.
CLLR SALLY GIMSON
Labour, Highgate ward