Two golf courses to be converted into ‘eco parks’

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir October 14, 2021 11:44

Two golf courses that both closed down recently are set to be converted into ‘eco parks’ by their local councils, although some are saying this will pave the way for them to be turned into housing estates.

Northbrook Approach Golf Course in Exeter, which closed in 2019, is set to become a new haven for wildlife after the city council agreed to continue a project with Devon Wildlife Trust.

When the golf course closed in 2019, the land was initially due to be sold for housing, but the council made a U-turn shortly afterwards – deciding to keep it as a protected green open space for the public, following a consultation.

Almost 100 percent of respondents supported the creation of a ‘wild arboretum’ – a space for wildlife habitats, trees and wildflower meadows – along with what people wanted to see and how to enhance the facility.

Peter Burgess from Devon Wildlife Trust, a charity which looks after several green spaces in the city, said: “Something we’ve recognised is how critical these green spaces have been for everyone during this period.

“Lots of people have found parks for the first time; they’ve explored them and they’re places for quiet relaxation – to rewind, to recharge.”

As well as the arboretum, the proposal includes strengthening the ‘wildlife corridor’ linking Northbrook with neighbouring Ludwell Valley and Riverside parks, a ‘visitor hub’, wildflower meadows with newly planted trees, a community orchard and a project to allow the park’s stream to “re-naturalise”.

Councillor Duncan Wood said: “It’s going to be a green treasure to the city, looking after our health, helping towards our reaching 2030 [net zero carbon target], but also a lovely place to go.”

Meanwhile, Sunderland City Council has given the go-ahead to commence the procurement process to redevelop the former Hetton le Hill Community Golf Club, also known as Elemore Golf Course, into an eco park, cafe, garden and visitor centre.

Graeme Miller, city council leader, said the proposals for the site showcase their commitment towards green policies.

He said: “It clearly shows the city’s green credentials, it clearly shows what we’re trying to do with green jobs, and I’m very, very happy to hear everyone is supporting it so strongly.”

However, some have said that an ‘eco park’ is a euphemism for the council leaving the area unmaintained, which will ultimately result in having housing built on it.

“When the council says an eco park, they will leave it and ‘rewild’ it so they don’t have to cut it and save money. It will go to wreck and ruin and the council will say they’re rewilding it,” said Brackenwood’s Golf Course’s secretary, Keith Marsh, who recently saw his local council talk about converting his venue into a similar facility.

“We’ll get fly tipping, people will say they’re sick of it and then over time we’ll have houses on it.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir October 14, 2021 11:44
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1 Comment

  1. Peter October 14, 18:46

    Golf courses are eco parks !! Likely they are spot on, housing will follow !! Hopefully eco friendly with a park component !!

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