BOWLERS in Stafford say they have been hit with a 60 per cent hike in charges for the coming season.
Although green fees for Stafford Borough Council facilities have only gone up by £2.50 from £77.50 for a season of home games, the authority has introduced a £50 charge for the use of huts at home games - bringing the total outlay for teams to £130.
John Brassington, chairman of the over 55 bowling league, said the increase was massive - compared with a 2.5 per cent increase in the state pension.
“It’s a devastating situation the bowlers find themselves in,” he said.
“The increase includes a new charge for the use of the bowling huts. The increase in fees for the bowling greens is understandable but the hut charges are despicable.” Sylvia Ward, secretary and treasurer for Rowley Park Bowls Club, wrote to the council a month ago but has had no reply.
She said: “While we were heartened to find that there was only a small increase in green fees we are appalled by the new fee for the use of the bowls huts.
“Having bowled on council greens for various teams for many years we are now being told that each team which uses the huts will be hit with a £50 fee.
Many clubs have a squad of players who play in different leagues on various days but the same players are used to field all the teams so they will have to fund this £50 three, four or five times a season.
“We expect and will continue to pay increased green fees but feel that this £50 hut fee will have a detrimental impact on clubs and players who rely on these facilities.” Councillor Mike Smith, cabinet member for leisure, said: “Most of the charges have gone up in line with inflation. If they don’t want to use the hut they don’t have to pay.”