A BOWLING green which was opened in the year suffragettes disrupted the State Opening of Parliament could see three steel shipping containers placed beside it and a colourful mural painted on its grade II listed boundary wall.

Darlington Parks Bowling Association, which was formed when Darlington Borough Council announced plans to close five of the town’s seven public park bowling greens in 2010, said it planned to mark North Lodge Bowls Club’s 115th anniversary by replacing its rusting facilities.

As the bowling green is in Northgate conservation area and overlooked by the bandstand and the tall North Lodge garden wall, which are both grade II listed, the association has had to apply for planning permission and listed building consent.

After the club’s pavilion was targeted by vandals destroyed in a fire in 1995, the council replaced it with a steel cabin clubhouse and changing room and steel storage containers for the use of the bowls club and the Friends of North Lodge Park.

The planning documents state after the last bowls season was abandoned due to the pandemic, “members energies were transferred to investment in repairs, renovation and enhancement works”, which respected its heritage.

It states recent support grants had enabled the club to buy its own maintenance equipment and the need for extra storage space, while the existing storage containers were now in “an advanced rusted condition” and suffering from “significant rainwater ingress”.

As part of the makeover the association has proposed creating bowls-themed murals on the early to mid-19th century North Wall, using the red, gold and green team colours of the North Lodge and Alpha Plus teams.

A club spokesman added: “It is a long-term ambition to construct a new clubhouse to restore that element of our lost heritage, but this is beyond current priorities or funding.”

The council’s conservation officer has said while the containers would introduce “some negative visual impact”, as they would be temporary and following works to shore up the wall and reduce its height the murals would only be visible from the bowling green and would not cause any harm to the historic structure.

He added: “While there is a minor element of harm, the benefits of the proposals sufficiently outweigh the minor element of harm.”

Article from – www.darlingtonandstocktontimes.co.uk