A FORMER Ramsbottom bowling green could become the site of a retirement home under plans submitted to the council.

Paddle Homes, based in Blackburn, has applied to build a 28-bed retirement home on a grassed area which used to be the bowling green, behind The Grant Arms pub in Market Place.

Proposals for 32 apartments for the elderly on the same patch of land were withdrawn last year.

Derek Barnes, director of Paddle, who is listed as the applicant, had previously pleaded guilty to chopping down 12 mature trees on land adjacent to Ramsbottom Civic Hall in a hearing at Bury Magistrates Court.

Mr Barnes was convicted alongside Dominic Barnes as directors of Astim Ltd, which is also based in Blackburn. The company was fined £8,000.

The firm owns the land, but the trees were protected as they were part of the Ramsbottom Conservation Area, and are designated as protected recreational land in the Bury unitary development plan.

At the time, Bury Council said that if another application was submitted for the site, compensation would have to be paid for the loss of land, or another area for recreation should be created to replace that land.

In a report to the council, Paddle said the new application had been submitted after months of discussions with the council’s planning department.

The report stated: “Initially it was looked upon as a standalone development of flats however this proved unfeasible, and a developemnt of retirement flats was looked upon more favourably.

“The development will change the land from being an overgrown to an aesthetically pleasing outlook from the car park and the building will use materials that are sympathetic with the surrounding properties.

“The scheme is for a retirement home in a central location of which there is none at present, and will make use of the central location.”

The green has not been used since March 2011, and the report claims that it has “gone into decline due to a lack of new members and past ones not renewing the membership.”

However this had been previously disputed by the Grant Arms Bowling Club which used the site and has since moved to the Rose and Crown in Carr Street.

The club would not accept a proposed rise in its annual rent from £750 to £1,000 — a year after it had gone up from £500.

The consultation period runs until March 18, and the council have set a deadline of May 23 to make a decision.

The Bury Times contacted Mr Barnes for a comment, but was told he was on holiday.