Four golf courses set to have housing built on them

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir August 8, 2021 12:13

Four English golf courses look set to have hundreds of homes built on their land.

Widnes Golf Club hopes to convert its 18-hole golf course into a nine-hole facility with a new clubhouse and greenkeeping facilities, with the other nine holes turned into more than 230 homes.

A similar proposal was rejected earlier this year by its council, after the club said it needed to sell the nine holes to Anwyl Homes in order to secure its future, as declining membership had left it with financial issues.

Planning officers rejected the scheme as they said it would leave Widnes in the ‘highly unusual’ situation of no longer having an 18-hole course.

A new planning application, however, sees a reduction in the proposed number of homes from 249 to 233, additional green space, more trees planted and enhancements to the redeveloped golf course, plus Widnes Golf Club has said it will invest in the nearby 18-hole Blundells Hill Golf Club in Rainhill in order to make improvements.

The combined membership would have the potential to play at both courses and developers said the plans would ensure the future of both locations.

John Grime, managing director at Anwyl Homes Lancashire, said: “We’ve listened to objections from local people, Halton Council and statutory consultees and incorporated a number of changes which we think address their concerns.

“The new application takes their feedback on board and, hopefully, provides a way to revive the fortunes of a golf club that has seen its membership dwindle over the last 10 years.

“We are still preparing to lodge a planning appeal based on the original refusal but hope this fresh application will render an appeal hearing unnecessary.”

Meanwhile, campaigners opposed to greenbelt development in Oxfordshire have lost a legal challenge concerning North Oxford Golf Course.

Cherwell Development Watch Alliance (CDWA) mounted a challenge against Cherwell District Council’s local plan, which proposes building 4,400 houses on greenbelt land north of Oxford.

But a High Court judge has now dismissed the campaign group’s application for a judicial review.

It comes after a 2016 decision by the Oxfordshire Growth Board – a committee of six Oxfordshire councils and other bodies – to apportion 4,400 homes to Cherwell.

The proposal was adopted as part of the Cherwell Plan in 2020, which earmarked homes to be built on the site of North Oxford Golf Course.

CDWA – a coalition of five residents’ groups – claimed the government’s planning inspector failed to take into account evidence of a fall in the level of Oxford’s housing need, and the unsuitability of a proposed replacement site for the golf course.

But in her ruling Mrs Justice Thorton said the inspector did consider the housing need figures, and he did not consider constraints on the replacement golf course “insurmountable”.

Horwich Golf Club is set to be converted into 276 homes, after a scheme was granted permission by the planning inspector even though Bolton Council had rejected the proposal.

The golf club has a number of longstanding issues and had run at a loss for 10 years.

An inquiry heard it only had 188 members.

And Windmill Hotel and Golf Course in Coventry is set to have 566 homes built on it after applicant Bracebridge Holdings received planning approval.

The site location itself drew concern over loss of the 18-hole golf course, reports the Coventry Telegraph, with councillor Mattie Heaven branding its loss an “absolute shame”.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir August 8, 2021 12:13
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  1. Highwater August 14, 16:29

    Better get that gorilla glass.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Peter August 5, 15:50

    Often the best strategy available !! Excess land offers clubs, a lot of options !! Accurate knowledge about your primary markets and those in it, should be your guide !!! While not a fan of converting 18 into 9 holes, it just might be appealing to those downsizing !!

    Reply to this comment
  3. Teesnap August 5, 15:01

    It’s a shame, the first course I ever played in Kent is schedule to be developed.

    Reply to this comment
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