Club that was about to close given a glimmer of hope

Emma Williams
By Emma Williams March 15, 2018 12:39

A Kent golf club that had been earmarked to close down in just two weeks has been given a last minute reprieve.

Deangate Ridge Golf Club has made a loss of more than £1.5 million over the last seven years and has a membership of less than 300 people. In February Medway Council stated that it would close at the end of March.

However, following protests by campaigners, the council’s regeneration, culture and environment overview and scrutiny committee has decided to refer the decision back to cabinet.

Tabling the motion, Cllr Gary Etheridge said: “Officers have made very clear the financial aspect in relation to Deangate and they’ve made it clear to us the sport provision currently provided to the residents of Medway by the council.

“However, I’ve listened to some very passionate pleas from various people, including the local councillor (Phil Filmer), and therefore I propose we refer back to the cabinet for further consideration.”

Deangate’s demise had been “called-in” by members of the Medway Labour group, meaning it had to be reviewed by the scrutiny committee, states Kent Online.

The group raised questions about how quickly the decision was reached and accused officers and cabinet members of predetermining the facility’s proposed closure.

Cllr Andy Stamp said: “It’s a well-used, much loved golf course and an open space for the community to use close to an ever-expanding rural community.

“And yet, the ruling cabinet thinks it is perfectly reasonable and acceptable to make a snap decision to close the golf course – just five working days after making its closure plans public with no public consultation whatsoever.

“I believe these decisions are an affront to democracy.”

Deputy chief executive of the council, Richard Hicks, said: “We understand the depth of feeling there is around this issue and it’s, indeed, not a course of action we’ve proposed lightly.

“In the face of a national decline in golf, and in the face of the ongoing financial instability that we have seen across the golf course, and indeed in the face of the measures we’ve put in place over the years to seek to reverse that financial position but which have been unsuccessful, we have reluctantly come to the view that we needed to recommend closure.”

If the decision is upheld, Deangate Ridge will close its doors to the public on March 31.

Kent Online also reports that council documents show the golf course is being promoted by Medway Council as a possible location for housing development.

 

Emma Williams
By Emma Williams March 15, 2018 12:39
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