Bowlers want Wigan green fenced off after problems with anti-social behaviour

A successful team is demanding the council prevent people going on the playing surface as they are wrecking it.

Monday, 26th April 2021, 10:09 am
Tony Mee and Peter Jones from the Hingemakers on the green at Ashton Rec

The Hingemakers play at the council-run site on Ashton Rec but says that with the start of the season just weeks away it is currently “unplayable”.

They say that during lockdown the site has been taken over by people playing football, riding bikes, drinking alcohol and other activities which have left the playing surface in a terrible state.

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While councillors have offered Brighter Borough funding the team says this is not useful without the town hall fencing off the green so it is restricted to bowlers only.

And the club is warning that they and several other outfits, including ones providing bowling for pensioners, may be forced to look elsewhere for a venue if the local authority does not make the green secure.

Club secretary Tony Mee said: “Every night, but especially at weekends, we have kids riding bikes on the bowling green, playing football and drinking.

“We’ve had adults running around on it, having picnics, walking their dogs.

“Coun Jenny Bullen keeps offering us £500 grants from Brighter Borough but that’s irrelevant if the green is unplayable.

Wigan Council is not keeping up its part of the deal.

“The green needs fencing off. It’s not just us, the green is a community asset used by three pensioners’ teams, church teams and others. It is used most nights of the week and it would be a massive loss to the community.

“No work has been done on it. We’ve found it full of beer bottles and there are massive burns on it.”

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said it was deploying patrols at anti-social behaviour hotspots and engaging young people by working with outreach staff at the council.

Neighbourhood Inspector Phil James said: “I completely understand the concerns raised by our local residents.

“The neighbourhood team are aware of the issues reported at Ashton Rec, and enquiries are on-going.

“I would like to reassure the local community that we are working with bowling club members and local schools, to identify the minority who are responsible.”

Wigan Council said it will be working with the bowlers to sort out the problems at the facility.

Paul Barton, director of environment at the town hall, said: “We will be taking proactive measures to ensure the bowling greens in Ashton are clean, tidy and safe for all those who wish to use them.

“Last year, signs were installed to deter the use of the green for other activities and in the coming weeks we will arrange to meet with bowlers to discuss fencing proposals and the practicalities of this.

“Our maintenance team is also working on the greens to reduce the impact of any damage and the surface will improve over the next few weeks.

“If anyone witnesses anti-social behaviour taking place at the greens, we would encourage them to report it to the police or to the council with as much information as possible so we can take action.

“To report an incident to the council visit www.wigan.gov.uk/reportit or download the council’s ReportIt app.”

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