Members of a bowls club in Stockingstone Road are “absolutely astounded” by anonymous complaints to the licensing panel ahead of their bid for an alcohol certificate.
Co-op Luton Bowls in Stockingstone Road, which was founded in 1935, has applied for a certificate to supply alcohol for consumption on the premises from 11am - 11pm every day.
The application will be discussed at a meeting of the Luton Borough Council licensing panel tomorrow (August 15) but letters sent by nearby residents have cast a shadow over proceedings.
Wendy Mattey from Luton Co-op Outdoor Bowling Club said: “We were absolutely astounded by the complaints because in all the years the club has been there not one person has ever complained about the club. There is no noise, unless they mean the clicking of the bowls and the occasional whoop of joy, there is no mess, and there’s never been a complaint about it. The club is only used in the summer months, from April to September. We feel that if people had grievances they should have come to the club and it could have been addressed.”
Some of the residents’ comments in the licensing panel documents included: “I am concerned that if the licence is given until 11pm, there will be a lot of noise when the members are out smoking and drinking which will disturb my child.”
A number of residents who wrote to the licensing panel to object to the application said they find rubbish including beer bottle tops, takeaway wrappers and gas cylinders in their gardens which they believe comes from the bowls club.
However, the club does not serve such food.
One complainant said: “I have a low level fence overlooking the club, I have found soft drinks cans, leftover takeaway cartons, cups and plastic bags in my garden. There is no other place this can have come from.”
Another complainant said: “The club also backs on to Vauxhall members’ club which has a music/drinks licence and can be quite noisy in itself at the weekends. There are numerous houses that back onto the club and we have not received any notification that they have applied for a licence and if residents had any reservations they could pop in and see the manager for reassurances. As a small community club backing on to a quiet residential street I would have thought this to be a common courtesy.”
Mrs Mattey said: “Our funds are so low we have to generate funds for the club in any way we can and serving alcohol is a way of doing this. After a game it’s tradition to go to the club and have a meal, normally just a ham salad, dessert and a cup of tea. At the bar you treat your opponent, if they have lost, to a drink. It’s just a tradition of bowls. If you go in any other bowls club in Luton you’ll see they have a bar, and after the game you retire to the club house.”
Mrs Mattey said if the club can’t raise more funds they could be in danger of having to close, and said they are always on the look-out for new members.