Club faces ‘uncertain future’ as council rejects plan to build houses

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 13, 2021 07:58

Plans to build 249 houses on part of a northern English golf course, in order to secure its future, have been rejected by its local council.

Halton Council’s development control committee rejected the proposal by Widnes Golf Club as it would involve an ‘unacceptable loss of green space and golfing facilities’.

However, members of the club had said the income from the planned development was vital to secure the club’s future after years of declining membership.

The plans involved converting the club from 18 holes to nine and building a new clubhouse to replace the existing “dilapidated” facilities and attract new members. The club also proposed to invest in a nearby 18-hole club in St Helens.

Peter Hurst and Phil Morris, both members, warned councillors that rejecting the plans could mean the demise of the club as membership continued to fall.

Mr Hurst said: “Numbers have declined greatly over many years. To arrest that decline, significant improvement of the facilities is needed and that money can only come from members as financial institutions will not lend.

“If approved, this application would allow the club to prosper and not decline.”

Widnes Golf Club’s clubhouse (in 2012). Image from Facebook

Mr Morris added: “If this development doesn’t go ahead, the club faces an extremely uncertain future.

“Without this scheme, there is a very high chance of the loss of this facility altogether.”

However, one councillor said: “I believe that this green space must be protected for the people of Widnes, I believe we have a duty of care to protect this designated green space for the future generations.

“There are many studies that indicate that just being able to see green space and trees improves people’s sense of wellbeing, health and mental health.

“Building a housing estate would take that away from the people who live around the course and from people across Widnes.

“At its very core this planning application seeks to cash in on many millions of pounds and invest part of the cash they make in a green space over the border in St Helens.

“Just let that sink in, we in Widnes would lose a huge swathe of our urban green space and St Helens would gain investment and protection in one of theirs. That cannot be just or fair.”

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 13, 2021 07:58
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1 Comment

  1. Peter March 14, 20:33

    Knowledge is power !! Perhaps it’s the wrong type of housing ? These plans take a great deal of relationship building to get passed !! It’s the number one and often best way for a club to move forward, development !! However, it must match with the type housing that community wants, needs and sees as progress !! Also, it just may be, town fathers’ want to see some other level of development, like clubhouse improvements to get passed !! Great master plans take work, time and relationships !!

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