The growing trend to build housing on golf courses

Rosemary Ayim
By Rosemary Ayim April 10, 2015 10:39

Two more golf clubs are set to build housing on their golf courses while a further two are set to be closed down to be replaced by housing.

Meltham Golf Club in Yorkshire has submitted a planning application to convert a 200-year-old Grade II barn which it has used to store course machinery into four luxury homes.

The club says the building has been targeted by thieves and vandals in recent years but could be transformed into two three-bedroom houses and two four-bedroom three-storey homes with master bedrooms and bathroom suites.

The plan also includes 13 parking spaces and an access road.

Maintenance of the building, which looks like a large stone barn but was actually two weavers cottages with attached small barns, has become expensive.

The club had attempted to have the building de-listed to allow more ways in which it could be converted – but the request was rejected by Historic England.

Architect Alyson Ronan, who has drafted the plans for the club, said: “Converting the building to dwellings will have the least impact on the existing building, considering that the building already has four distinct areas, two of which were originally dwellings.

“It is proposed that the building is converted to four dwelling with small gardens to the rear and parking, and this will guarantee the survival and continued use of the building.”

Meanwhile, an application for seven new homes on land at Westhill Golf Club in Scotland has been officially approved.

The development will include affordable housing.

Len Hubert, captain at Westhill Golf Club, said: “We’re delighted that our application for full planning permission has been approved.

“This development will provide a significant boost not only for the golf club, which requires much needed funds, but also for residents in the wider Westhill community who will benefit from enhanced facilities for years to come.

“Everyone connected to the golf club is extremely excited about the next phase of the development, although there is still a lot of hard work to be done. I’m certain that this will be a springboard for both the club and the community.”

Following approval, funds raised from the release of two small areas of surplus land for the development will be used to upgrade the course and clubhouse facilities including new locker facilities, toilets and club entrance.

Golf clubs are not just building homes by their courses to raise revenues – some are closing down to meet the UK’s housing shortage as well.

Botley Park Golf Club in Hampshire has terminated its membership after members received a letter, which confirmed that contracts for the sale of the land has been exchanged and that therefore the golf course would be closing to pave the way for 1,400 homes to be built.

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The club at its height had around 400 members, but since news of the golf course’s role in the development, numbers have dwindled to around 250.

Mr Tapp, a member for 23 years, said the club, which would have celebrated its 25th anniversary in July, had many members who had been coming for more than 20 years.

“It was a friendly club and that little community is now broken up,” said Mr Tapp.

“We’re resigned to the situation.

“Botley Park was one of the best conditioned golf courses in Hampshire – it was extremely well managed and a lovely place to play golf.

“It’s sad that era has come to an end but once the planning permission was granted we all knew that sooner or later we’d have to look for somewhere else.

“Our only disappointment with the hotel is that they gave us so little notice.”

A consortium of developers and landowners, including hotel owner Macdonald Hotels, is behind the plans for Boorley Green which were approved by Eastleigh Borough councillors back in 2013 despite hundreds joining a protest through the streets of Botley.

And plan for a new village at Flaxby Golf Course could be part of the solution for Harrogate Borough Council’s planning woes, developers have said.

The £100million Flaxby Hotel development has been put on hold while land owners, Skelwith Group, draw up plans to build a new town or village of up to 2,500 homes.

Planners are working on the designs for the 280 acre site which will see the golf course turned into a village.

The company has had planning permission for a 300-bed hotel since 2008 and insisted that it is still ‘wholly committed’ to building the hotel but admitted it would likely be different from the luxury 5 star hotel spa hotel which was first mooted.

A spokesman for Skelwith Group said: “Harrogate Borough Council (HBC) needs to find a substantial amount of land for housing and employment development to maintain the districts’ prosperity in the years ahead. It needs to avoid green belt sites, and to choose locations which are both sustainable in planning terms and which are in places where people want to live and work.

“In this context, we believe the golf course and other land may have a role to play, and this possibility is currently being explored. However, the matter is at a very early stage, and the idea is still evolving.”

The new village would include up to 2,500 homes, a primary school, a village centre with shops, a doctors surgery, business and office units and bus routes.

Around ten people are thought to be employed at the golf course and have been told of the new plans.

 

Rosemary Ayim
By Rosemary Ayim April 10, 2015 10:39
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