Terence Harrison, manager of Rowans bowling alley, reassures customers that site will not close

Haringey Independent: Rowans bowling alley was marked as a potential site that would be shut as part of Finsbury Park's redevelopment Rowans bowling alley was marked as a potential site that would be shut as part of Finsbury Park's redevelopment

The general manager of a much-loved bowling alley has reassured his customers that it will not close.

Terence Harrison, who runs Rowans Leisure, in Stroud Green Road, Finsbury Park, said its owners had no plans to sell the site in order for it to be turned into flats.

He made the statement after more than 2,700 people signed a petition against closure after Haringey Borough Council marked the bowling alley as one of the potential sites that would be shut as part of the area’s redevelopment.

Mr Harrison said: “We have been overwhelmed by the level of local support for Rowans Bowling Alley.

“As a proud Finsbury Park business, it is heart-warming to hear how much people love our venue.

“I am keen for local people to understand that whilst the councils have published their vision for the regeneration of the town centre, the land owners do not have any agreed redevelopment plans and do not intend to sell the site.”

Mr Harrison added that the business will continue to provide fun, retro style ten-pin bowling for all the family – and if anything were to change, he would let our customers, staff and neighbours know.

Fund manager Christopher Mahon, 37, of Queen's Drive, explained why he organised the petition.

He said: "Rowans is a unique place which massively enhances the vibrancy and vitality of the area.

“Families have been celebrating birthdays and special occasions here for years. Some flats and a sprinkling of standard issue shops won’t make up for what is lost."

The petition started after it was announced that Rowans was listed on the council’s draft site allocation development plan document, which outlines potential development sites in the borough over the next 20 years.

Along with neighbouring Islington Council and Hackney Council, the authority has announced a “strategic vision” for the Finsbury Park area which includes replacing Rowans with a seven-storey block of flats and a hotel.

An extra entrance to the park will also be created on the site where Rowans now stands.

Mr Mahon, who has lived in Finsbury Park for 14 years, said: “The councils are not taking into account the huge social benefits of Rowans.

“It gives young people something to do and everyone a place to socialise without drinking.”

The 37-year-old said that his campaign was being taken seriously by the authority and that Councillor Sheila Peacock, the mayor of Haringey, had called him to discuss the issue.

Rowan’s is one of a number of sites listed in the council’s draft site allocations development plan document, which outlines potential development sites in the borough over the next 20 years.

A spokesman from the council said no final decisions have been taken on any of the the sites mentioned in the plan.

She said: “Consultation on the draft site allocations development plan document will run from January 17 to February 28, 2014, ahead of a final document being prepared.

“There will be further consultation on that final document in late 2014 before any final decisions are made.”

A decision on whether to finalise the “strategic vision” will be made in February and planning permission will then have to be gained by the site owners, Parkstock Ltd.

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