Bowling Green Site: garden / tenniscourt/ theatre?

At the time of writing there are three very different proposals in for the Bowling Green site. It is as yet unclear how a decision will be made as to which one to go with, but it is important that people air their views before it is too late.
The three proposals are:
1. An area with disabled access to provide opportunities for food-growing, a sensory garden with seating area and small-scale sporting activities (boule and table tennis a possibility). Bowling Green Community Garden

2. Mini-tennis courts (hard courts) for children.

3. A dedicated open-air theatre (with raked, sunken seating) – a proposal just in from Brighton Open Air Theatre. There would be evening performances Wed to Sat throughout the summer. BOAT – initial proposal

The Friends of Dyke Road Park would like to hear what people think about these three options. Please try and get to our next meeting at 6.30pm, Tuesday 14 May, Bowls Hut, to air your views, or leave a comment below.

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16 Responses to Bowling Green Site: garden / tenniscourt/ theatre?

  1. Corinna Hattersley-Mitchell says:

    As a member of the Friends of DRP I feel strongly that we should be fully involved in what becomes of the bowling green.

    I strongly protest the idea of turning it into tennis courts for children given the proximity and amount of full size courts we already have.

    If the theatre idea is to go ahead I would like to propose that there is some further benefit to the park, such as contribution to reinstatement of the missing benches. If this area is to be used throughout the summer then I also think that use of the park for sports such as softball, should be reconsidered as it will again limit the space available for people to sit and enjoy the park.

  2. Lyn Nesbitt-Smith says:

    I would be all for a small entertainment venue such as a theatre, but is it really large enough to be sustainable financially.

    • Dan Wilson says:


      You ask a fair question. I think with the initial funding provided by the legacy and also the combined momentum of the broader community of arty types, that such concerns could be addressed with additional fundraising and a five/ten year business plan.

      Such a facility would also offer some great opportunities for local youth groups/colleges/schools too.

      Dan Wilson

  3. Rita says:

    I’m in favour of Boat’s theatre open air proposal and would like to think its viable ..wonderful venture! I also agree with Corinna Hattersty Mitchell that all account has to be considered regarding the local facilities within the park that cannot be compromised.

  4. Amanda says:

    I think that any of the three proposals would be a good use of the space and welcome addition to the park’s amenities. However they could all be affected if a large school was to be built close by on Bhasvic field – issues of noise, overshadowing etc – so this possibility may need to be taken into account when deciding the future of the bowling green.

  5. Sara Cook says:

    In the light of the Free School proposal I would want to wait to see how that will effect the park. I would not be in favour of loosing the space to concrete tennis courts and wonder how much of an enviromental gain would be made by using it as a theatre, lovely as that maybe.

  6. As a performer who has appeared in several open air productions in Brighton, I think the theatre is a wonderful idea. Adrian I know personally and professionally, and he has spent a great deal of time and all of his construction and theatre expertise into choosing this location. Brighton has a huge and proveable need for a relatively central dedicated open air theatre space, and this would be a huge cultural and economic benefit to the town and the area. It would bring people to the park, and be a great cultural asset in a town ful of cultural practitioners but lacking in tailor made spaces. There is a special an civilizing magic to open air theatre; those who love the park already need not fear. Finally, it would be a lasting and fitting memorial to a pivotal and visionary member of the Brighton Arts Community.

  7. ClaireNorrish says:

    LOVE the proposal for the Brighton Open Air Theatre. Absolutely perfect.

  8. Sarah Chrisp says:

    How fabulous to see the plans for Brighton Open Air Theatre. What a marvellous, inspired use of the space. Love it.

  9. Christine says:

    I think the theatre would be fantastic! What a brilliant plan. My only question is what use would be made of the space outside the season? Could the space be made available for creative workshops?

  10. Gail Greaves says:

    What a wonderful opportunity to create a place of peace, activity, relaxation and inspiration for young and old, able and disabled, and I fully support the idea of a community garden on the defunct Dyke Road Park bowling greens. The area could be useable all year, unlike an outdoor theatre, and the planning and creation as well as the on-going activities would be a joint project involving local students, residents and organisations. The open-air theatre is a nice idea, but has drawbacks in that it would be useable for only part of the year. As a site I believe the larger Queens Park is a much more viable proposition, where there are also defunct bowling greens at a high part of the park, calling out for an outdoor theatre.

  11. Steve turner 07855781056 says:

    The boat ( Brighton open air theatre ) proposal would be a great assett to enhance the park for all disabled and able bodied to realise the value of the spoken word in a safe and secure environment. I will attend the meeting tomorrow to answer any queries that may arise.Kind regards steve,

  12. Caroline Collingridge says:

    While the BOAT idea is a wonderful idea, and it would certainly add to Brighton’s cultural importance, wouldn’t Queen’s Park (ex. bowling green) be a more practical place for it? Dyke Road bowling green is a really peaceful and tranquil oasis and a community garden with a variety of plants (edible, sensory, bird friendly, etc.), attractive walking areas, benches, pond and other features would ensure this oasis would continue for the friends and visitors to Dyke Road Park.

    • Steve turner 07855781056 says:

      Caroline thanks for the positive comment on the BOAT as an idea. Im sure our design will be flexible to ensure that all that is there currently is maintained. moreover it is our firm intention to enhance the quality of the space and its attractive surroundings. We will propose seed mixes to the backs of the terraces that are wildlife positive and blend in non edible scented plants. The design will go through a fully co-ordinated consultation period where all interested stakeholders can influence the final outcome. Again come to the meeting tonight and wew can discussfurther. regards Steve.

  13. david says:

    totally against the tennis idea, too much of the park already taken up by the other courts. theatre sounds great, but would need to prove a use for colder months too. I think that kids already have a lot going on in the park, maybe something aimed at older people would be good – at the moment they mainly seem to sit on the benches by the road, as perhaps the main body of the park ’round the back’ is percieived as too out of the way for them. an out of season eastern style ‘meditation garden’ use of a theatre space could perhaps be the solution.

    • Rita says:

      Yes I agree I love idea of a theatre but not sure how a theatre space could be used in the rest of the seasons. I also love the idea of a meditation garden and peaceful space to practice yoga, tai chi and so on in this lovely sheltered space . Otherwise I feel the option of the creation of a community garden seems more viable and maybe perhaps more enjoyed by our local community who could participate more fully in this venture .

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