Dorchester bowling green set to be converted to tennis courts for kids

Dorset Echo: Mayor of Dorchester Stella Jones at the bowling green Mayor of Dorchester Stella Jones at the bowling green

THE bowling green at Dorchester’s Borough Gardens is set to be converted to junior tennis courts for the summer as the town council continues to weigh up its future.

The council has been deliberating about what to do with the green since the Gardens Bowling Club was wound up back in 2010.

It was turned into a putting green but take-up has been poor and it has been acknowledged that something needs to be done with the site as last summer it became a focal point for anti-social behaviour.

Mayor of Dorchester Stella Jones said: “We want to use it because if it’s not used for anything that’s when people hang around on it and cause problems.

“So we wanted to have something on it and we suggested having, for this summer only, some junior tennis so children can knock around free of charge on there. In the meantime we are going to look at long-term plans.

“We want to have it used and we thought short tennis, which is something we haven’t got, would be good for children.”

Dorchester Town Council has previously stated its aim of converting the green into a proper mini-golf facility but so far has only received only around half of the £36,000 funding it requires.

It was unlikely therefore that the mini-golf could be introduced this year and the council has been looking at uses for the green this summer. The site will be used as part of the Dorchester Arts Festival in May and the council claims that with some form of fencing added at a modest cost it will be able to introduce lawn tennis in the Borough Gardens within its existing budgets.

A report prepared by town clerk Adrian Stuart for the council’s management committee suggested that, while the grass should survive one summer’s use, the cost of maintaining the lawn could mean that tennis is not a viable long-term option.

However, council staff will monitor the tennis court usage to assess the need for additional courts in the Borough Gardens.

They will also work with the council’s Borough Gardens panel to develop alternative proposals for the green, including the mini-golf option, and will report back to the council in September.

Councillor Jones said: “We are going to have a really good look at all the options available.”

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