Tories welcome petanque trial in Tilgate Park

Conservative Councillors Beryl MeCrow and Brenda Burgess at the previously proposed Petanque site in Crawley's Memorial Gardens (photo submitted). SUS-161122-104027001

Conservative Councillors Beryl MeCrow and Brenda Burgess at the previously proposed Petanque site in Crawley's Memorial Gardens (photo submitted). SUS-161122-104027001

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A decision to trial petanque at Tilgate Park rather than at Crawley’s Memorial Gardens has been welcomed by Conservative councillors as a ‘victory for common sense’.

Chris Mullins, Labour’s cabinet member for wellbeing at Crawley Borough Council, announced the idea of a petanque pitch for the town earlier this year.

But the proposals attracted opposition on Facebook and national media coverage, with some suggesting the Memorial Gardens was not the right location for such a facility.

Now visitors to Tilgate Park will be able to play the game from Thursday (November 24) at a removable petanque area, known as a piste, near the Walled Garden.

From 2-4pm on Thursday experienced members of the Handcross Petanque Club will be on hand to offer advice on playing the game.

The piste will be free to use and equipment can be borrowed from the Tilgate Nature Centre shop.

Councillor Beryl Mecrow (Con, Pound Hill South and Worth), shadow cabinet member for wellbeing, said: “We welcome this U-turn and believe the area in Tilgate Park where petanque will be played is much more suitable than the Memorial Gardens. This is a victory for common sense.”

The move was also welcomed by Conservative Group leader Cllr Duncan Crow (Con, Furnace Green) who added: “It was a shame that the council’s Cabinet Member for Wellbeing Cllr Chris Mullins was originally so dismissive about the concerns that were raised when he and his Labour colleagues wanted to spoil the Memorial Gardens with Pentaque.

“Thankfully many months later, he has finally bowed to pressure from Conservative councillors and Crawley residents.”

But Mr Mullins explained that when he first floated the idea of petanque at the Memorial Gardens several Tory councillors had been in favour of it, but Conservatives had later used the issue in the run up to the elections.

After meeting with a petanque club they had found that the Memorial Gardens was not a suitable location, and they had now decided to hold days of interest at Tilgate Park to gauge support for creating a permanent location for the past time.

While the Memorial Gardens has been ruled out, Mr Mullins said he would be looking at locations on bus routes.

He added: “I have got a feeling enough people will be interested in it in the town.”

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