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Kelvin Hopkins MP is calling on Luton’s Bowlers to show their concern for the future of Britain’s bowling greens at a lobby of parliament and by taking part in a game of bowls in the heart of Westminster.
John Woodcock, Labour & Co-operative MP for Barrow & Furness, is organising the events to raise politician’s awareness of the threat to bowling greens and clubs across the country from development and council funding cuts. Large numbers of active bowling greens are being closed or are under threat, placing the sport – enjoyed by 400,000 players nationwide – in jeopardy. Bowlers at the lobby will be calling on their MPs to push the government to support measures to increase protection of bowling greens and to encourage community ownership.
John Woodcock MP, said:
“I have been heartened by the level of support the bill has received both within parliament and beyond. My office has received messages of support from every corner of the country and many accounts of greens under threat.
“We need to build the pressure on the government to take action to protect bowling greens. Ministers talk a lot about their commitment to localism. What better way for them to demonstrate this than by giving communities more powers to protect their threatened sporting assets and to assist community groups and co-operatives in taking them over?”
In March, John Woodcock introduced a bill to parliament with cross-party support to strengthen the planning protection for active bowling greens and to give local groups and co-operatives the first refusal to purchase greens which are put up for sale. John also tabled an Early Day Motion in support of the bill’s proposals, which has been signed by 46 MPs from across the political spectrum including Luton North MP, Kelvin Hopkins.
Kelvin Hopkins, Labour MP for Luton North, said:
“I'm supporting Wednesday's lobby because I know how important bowling greens are to people here in Luton. Lawn bowling is a well loved sport, and bowling greens are a focus for community life, helping people to stay active and keep in touch with friends.
"I hope bowlers from across Luton will come along on Wednesday and join the calls on the Government to increase protection for our bowling greens."
Jack Dromey MP, Labour’s shadow communities minister, said:
“Bowlers from round the country deserve great credit for the way they are standing up for the local greens they love, and I am looking forward to meeting many in Westminster next week.
“Bowling greens are a vital part of our nation’s heritage and important hubs for local communities. Too many are under threat at present, but a simple change in planning guidance could give bowlers the extra protections they are demanding. I hope ministers will listen.”