A MAJOR development proposal could see two of Tamworth’s biggest clubs become one, if The Servies Group is able to gain the support of its members.
The Leader can reveal The Servies Group board will lobby members for their permission to expand the North Tamworth Bowling Club on Bligh Street.
The move would mean the Tamworth Services Club, on Marius St, would need to be declared “non-core property” and sold, with the two clubs to merge on the bowling club site.
CEO Kristian Brooks said the group looked to purchase the old Piper Street tennis courts next door to the North Tamworth Bowling Club as part of the expansion.
With the additional land, the site would house a larger club, undercover parking facilities and bowling greens including the city’s first shaded synthetic green.
Included in the proposal is a children’s playground and possibly a three-to-four star hotel, which would be built at a later stage.
While the idea was passed unanimously by The Servies Group board, there will be an information session from 7pm on Tuesday, March 27 at the Services Club to brief members.
There will be a formal vote of members at the club on Tuesday, April 10 where more than 50 per cent of those present would need to vote in favour of the project for it to go ahead.
Mr Brooks said the project was the “way of the future” for the group, but the sale of the Services Club and the new development could not go ahead without the members’ backing.
"The board has reviewed everything we do as a group,” he said.
"We are a service industry looking after our members, the opportunity came up and we are currently talking to council about purchasing the land.
"But we have to have our members' permission to look for options to sell the Services Club and then purchase the land.
"We'll basically be building a whole new premises up here.”
Mr Brooks said the current Tamworth Services Club building was difficult to access.
"The landscape of the industry is tough at the moment and what they basically did was look forward to the future,” he said.
"We have one of the biggest clubs in Tamworth and there is just no parking for it.
"They have about 13 car parks, which is not beneficial for our members to get there at any stage of the day.
"The access is terrible, whether it is raining or a 40 degree day. Some people park and have to walk up a hill and where we are now has become impractical.
"With the (new) land we have room to move.”
Mr Brooks said the process would be carefully thought out, with no architectural plans drawn up until the members are on board.
"We haven't done any initial plans yet, but we want to see if we can get approval to look for someone to buy,” he said.
"We would need to trade both entities until the first finished product.
"We'd look, if there's a good buyer, to lease back for three years so while that is being built we are still trading both premises.
"It's a long term plan, but we just can't sit on our hands anymore, we've got to move forward.
"We've got to be a bit more convenient for our members.”
Mr Brooks said it was hoped there’d be more room for members of both clubs and the opportunity for families to come and enjoy the facilities as well, in a market they had never tapped into before.
"We envisage we would be able to have a 150-to-200 space undercover car park,” he said.
"It'll be done in stages, but you'll have a whole new club basically.
"People love alfresco outdoor areas and we'd be able to put in a great outdoor area here, with a kids playground.
"We'd make it family-friendly, which the Services Club have got no room to do. They are landlocked down there so it is just impossible for us to pursue those avenues.
"This gives us an opportunity to hit the family market. We're looking at all different ways and things we can do here to benefit our members."