Visitors to spa town set to be bowled over by new facility

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Harrogate Stray’s newest sports facility in 13 years is expected to be up and running in just over two months as final plans for a long-awaited bowls pitch are revealed.

Proposals to build four petanque courts on the fiercely protected 200 acre grassland site were approved by Harrogate Borough Council last May after two years of planning.

Now, the project to convert the derelict Pier Head site, near the war memorial, is a major step closer and the facility is set to open at the beginning of May.

The Pier Head Bouledrome will be run by the Harrogate Montpellier Petanque Club (HMPC) and is sponsored by Harrogate company, Ellis Bates.

The club’s chairman, Nigel Clay, said: “It is fantastic that after all our efforts and with the co-operation of Harrogate Borough Council, everything is coming together. Our vision has been to revitalise a derelict area in the heart of the town to provide a recreational and social facility that can be used by the whole community.

“We will be making it as accessible as we can - whether you want to join the club and play regularly, or for visitors and the occasional players who will be able to hire boule from the Oxfam shop on Montpellier Hill.”

Petanque is the variety of bowls played with hollow metal balls particularly popular in France.