Newbury bowling green 'sinks' after Parkway Shopping Centre development

The bowling green in Newbury The bowling green in Newbury has sunk by 30cm (14ins) in the last two years

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A park's bowling green has sunk by 30cm (14ins) in the two years since a shopping centre was built alongside it, players have said.

Users of the bowls club in Victoria Park in Newbury, which is across the road from the Parkway Shopping Centre, say it is no longer flat.

Only four of 12 rinks are in use at the club, which dates back to the 1830s.

The cause of the cracks and subsidence is being investigated by Newbury Town Council, which owns Victoria Park.

'Significant coincidence'

It has commissioned a hydro-geological survey to determine the cause of the problem, but it has not been made public due to legal proceedings.

Julian Swift-Hook, of Newbury Town Council, said: "The issue is definitely a significant coincidence at the bare minimum. Everyone who uses Victoria Park... has been affected.

"The tennis courts have been affected, the paths around the park, and the bowls green."

The town's football pitches and nearby houses have also experienced mysterious cracks.

Bridget Tucker said her insurance had to pay out £10,000 to fix her house after cracks started appearing following the construction of the nearby centre.

She said: "It happened two years ago when they were pumping out water from the park. Cracks started appearing, quite gently, but they were definitely getting worse."

Nigel Pennock, treasurer of the bowls club, said: "It's supposed to be a flat green, but we're not flat.

"We would normally have 12 rinks... now we're down to four rinks, which means not many people can play here now."

The council said fixing the green would cost up to £85,000, while restoring the park and football pitches could run into six figures.

Developer Costain, which built the 300,000 sqft (91.4 sqm) Parkway Shopping Centre, declined to comment.

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