A 50-year-old Whetstone bowls club is in crisis after being told it has to vacate its premises, despite previous assurances from Barnet Council that it did not have to move.

Nortel Bowls Club in Denham Road, Whetstone, has been given the ultimatum by their current landlords Nortel Networks which is selling the premises. Terry Andrews, the bowls club's chairman said: "They Nortel have given us notice to quit at the end of the current season in September.

"We were told by Barnet Council four years ago that we had been on the site for so long that it could not be used for anything else and now the council have done a u-turn. We were told there was a covenant on the land but now it seems that does not matter anymore."

A spokesman for Barnet Council said: "There is a covenant on the land which prevents the land being used for anything other than sports and leisure purposes but we cannot force them to put it to that use or allow any particular organisation to occupy the land."

Nortel confirmed the sale of the bowls club was part of the company's relocation strategy but would not confirm who the buyers were. Given the terms of the covenant, any number of health and fitness clubs would be eligible.

The bowls club, which has 65 members and has been on the site for 47 years has spent a lot of money upgrading their pavilion and members are angry with the council's lack of support. The sale of the land follows Nortel's decision to vacate their premises in Oakleigh Road South, New Southgate, following the downturn in the mobile phone market.

June 21, 2002 15:00