HS2 golf club has its future secured

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir November 8, 2016 16:04

A 130-year-old golf club that could have closed down because the HS2 railway line is set to go through the course has had its future secured.

Whittington Heath Golf Club in Staffordshire has been granted planning approval to build new holes and a clubhouse to offset the land that will be lost due to the high speed railway line.

The club, which will purchase adjacent land funded by HS2 compensation, will maintain ecological areas and the public right of way.

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The new holes (top)

“Five new golf holes and a new clubhouse will be constructed to reflect the equivalent re-instatement of facilities lost by construction, with all costs being borne by HS2 on that basis,” said a club spokesman.

“Publicly accessible ecological areas including wetlands and environmental offset land will also be part of the project.”

“After consultation with members about the course of action we should take, we made a conscious decision to work with HS2 and preserve 130 years of golf and a much longer history for the overall site,” said club captain Pete Espin.

“We could simply have accepted the HS2 route as a signal for the course’s closure but we’ve worked closely with them and we’re delighted with the outcome under the circumstances.”

Member Kelvin Edwards added: “Throughout the process we liaised with local action groups, councils and national government officials to collaborate positively with HS2. In accepting the intended path of the railway, we’ve been able to reach a solution for both the club and HS2 which preserves the future and also secures environmental benefits for the local community. It’s been a difficult journey but one we feel has been entirely worthwhile.”

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The holes that will be lost (in black and white)

Committee member Keith Ridgway said: “The basis of ‘equivalent re-instatement’ means the level of our current facilities will be maintained on a new-for-old basis but we’re still losing an historic building as well as mature heathland as a consequence. So the ecological element has been an important factor in the plans. While the new golf holes will be constructed to replicate the traditional heathland environment, there’ll also be around 10 hectares of heather and acid grassland, four eco ponds, additional hedgerow and woodland along with public access.

“The status of the ecological land is preserved by a binding agreement and the golf club is responsible for maintaining it as such on behalf of HS2.”

The announcement is believed to be the first of its kind relating to the HS2 project.

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir November 8, 2016 16:04
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