Petanque Harrogate

Harrogate Petanque plans Progress for Harrogate’s Pier Head

16 February 2012

Petanque HarrogateHarrogate Petanque Plans Progress – photo opportunity 16 February 11.00 am Harrogate Pier Head opposite Bettys – see below.

The project to convert the semi-derelict, Pier Head site at the top of Montpellier Gardens near Bettys to play Petanque (Boule) is a major step closer.

Planning for the installation of four courts has been approved by Harrogate Borough Council and the development is expected to be ready by the beginning of May 2012.

The ‘Pier Head Bouledrome’ will be run by Harrogate Montpellier Petanque Club which is being sponsored by Harrogate based independent wealth manager and insurance Broker Ellis Bates.

Chairman of Harrogate MPC, Nigel Clay, said:

It’s fantastic that, after all our efforts and the co-operation of Harrogate Borough Council, everything is coming together. Our vision has been to revitalise a derelict area in the heart of the town to provide a recreational and social facility that can be used by the whole community. Our philosophy is to provide facilities for all ages and all abilities.

Most people will be familiar with Petanque as the French form of bowls, and may have played on holiday or in their back garden. Having the facilities in the ‘Montpellier’ district of Harrogate adds to the story! It’s fun and easy to play and, with the courts being low maintenance, it’s inexpensive as well. A derivative of Petanque is a Paralympic sport being played in London this summer. Boccia is quite a similar game, but played by wheelchair athletes using lighter, leather balls. Our facilities in Harrogate will provide disabled access to all the courts.


Cllr Caroline Bayliss, Harrogate Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Cultural Services, has welcomed this next stage of the Club’s plans.

I am absolutely delighted with these proposals for the Pier Head and the council has been happy to support the Club. As residents will remember, there used to be toilets under the Pier Head and we have had to employ specialist engineers to make sure that there were no hazards such as weight bearing. We have also worked with Club in developing their design which has now been given the green light by the Planning Committee. The council will also be making some improvements to the area including painting the railings, providing some street furniture and making good the area around the four courts when they are built.

As Nigel says, the ‘French’ quarter of Montpellier Hill is the perfect place for this new activity for the town and I hope in the not too distant future to see residents and visitors enjoying the French connection by watching or taking part in this interesting game.

Ellis Bates Chairman, Peter Bates, commented:

When Nigel first approached us we thought, what a fantastic idea! We’re delighted to be supporting the project and the Club, and wish them their deserved success with all the hard work to ‘make it happen’.

Nigel added: 

We’ve held back on publicity until we were confident that the project was going ahead this summer. From the research we have done we know that Petanque will generate a lot of interest, and we’re going to work hard to make sure people know it’s here. It’s a very sociable and a fun game to play, or just to sit out and watch. We’ll be making it as accessible as we can whether you want to join the Club and play regularly, or for visitors and the occasional players who will be able to hire boule from the Oxfam shop on Montpellier Hill.

A prime objective of the Club will be to raise money for charity. As well as the link with Oxfam, Harrogate MPC will be raising money for Saint Michael’s Hospice by running a summer long competition for teams of three, from across the Harrogate community. “We hope that businesses, organisations, community groups, sports clubs and teams of friends will get behind this event as an enjoyable way to support Saint Michael’s.”

Further information is available on the Club’s website: or you can get in touch by e-mail:, or phone: 07856 897086

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