A ROW has broken out over the use of the Red Lion pub’s bowling green in Stockton Heath.

Red Lion Bowling Club members are angry that pub management have decided to lay out a marquee, tables, and chairs on the bowling green – but landlady Ceris Shadwell says the “last resort” measures are temporary, and are necessary to “keep the pub open and keep a roof over my [family’s] head”.

The club, who pay roughly £1,700 for the green’s upkeep annually, believe the decision was taken without consulting them, and also claim there is a covenant on the land for it to be used for crown green bowling – but pub management say the land is owned by them and licensed to the club.

One club member told the Warrington Guardian: “The first thing we knew about [the pub] putting equipment on the green was on the Red Lion Facebook page, on the Wednesday before they opened on the Saturday.

“What’s annoyed everybody in the club is that we weren’t involved in what was going on – they just did it. They didn’t tell us. They must have had a meeting to discuss this, but we weren’t invited.”

The club added that had they been involved in the initial discussions, they would have been happy to have equipment on the green – but only if the green was put back to its original condition after the summer.

In response, landlady Ceris Shadwell said: “Personally, I’ve spoken to greens keepers to find out about the damage on the green, and every single one of them have told me that grass is the most hard-wearing plant, and it will grow back.

“We will do absolutely anything we can to support the community, and the one time we ask the bowlers – who’ve used this pub for a hundred years – to be patient, this is how they’ve repaid us. It’s heart-breaking.”

The pub currently runs a number of community initiatives, such as egg and vegetable box collections, pre-natal classes, and even allows children to sell lemonade outside for charity.

Thwaites’ – who are the Red Lion’s brewery – Andrew Buchanan, Director of Pubs and Brewing, said: “The team at the Red Lion have done so much to support the Stockton Heath community during lockdown. We wish to support the pub in trying to maximise the available space in order to offer the majority of pub goers a socially distanced area to use.

“The landlords are preserving their business and the jobs that depend on it. Tony and Ceris run a fantastic pub, a Thwaites Best Pint winner for 2019, and one the whole of the Stockton Heath community should be proud of.”