Gateshead Council in funding row over bowling green and football pitch maintenance

Bowling greens would have to be privately funded under the proposals Credit: ITV News

A row has broken out over Gateshead Council's latest move to cut costs as austerity measures continue.

The Council is considering scrapping its maintenance of bowling greens and football pitches in the borough. It believes the move could save £246,000.

Members of Ryton Bowling Club have reacted with anger and disappointment to the proposals.

Hugh Armstrong, Chairman of Ryton Bowling Club, said: "It makes me and everyone else feel very sad and sorry about it because we are going to lose the facility that we have had for years and years."

If the Council's proposals are approved then clubs would be required to look after their own bowling greens and football pitches. However, that would be a considerable challenge for some.

Mr Armstrong added: "There's a matter of buying mowing machines, we'd need two different types and they are expensive to prepare the surface."

Council leader Martin Gannon said the council was already overstretched. Credit: ITV News

The Council said there is simply no money left for it to attend to maintaining these sports facilities.

Speaking to ITV News Tyne Tees, council leader Martin Gannon said the money simply 'doesn't exist'.

He said: "The simple matter is we just simply haven't got the money and Gateshead Council have gone through a long period of austerity. We've already had to reduce by £157m.

"We are the 7th worst council in the country and 52 per cent of our grant from central government has been reduced and we are looking at a gap next year on top of the £157m of £29m; so frankly the money doesn't exist."

Central government said it has provided more than a billion pounds in extra funding to help pressures on local services.