Municipal fights link road plan
A municipal course in the east of England is under threat after plans were approved to build a link road over it, as part of a new 1,250-unit housing development.
Supporters of Cheshunt Golf Club in Hertfordshire have objected to the plans, which would see the course re-routed and the loss of its second hole, a par-four with a lake.
Nick Baker, a club member, told BBC News the club would lose its ‘signature’ hole and warned it could fail as a result.
"Apart from one of the original members of the golf club's ashes being buried in that lake, which is very sentimental, it's a signature hole because you actually have to carry the ball over the lake."
"I speak to club members and it's the favourite hole, without a shadow of a doubt," said Baker.
Broxbourne Borough Council, which owns the course, approved a planning application in June to build 1,250 new homes at Brookfield Garden Village in Cheshunt. The link road will provide access to the new development via Halfhide lane and the A10 Turnford interchange.
A council spokesperson said there would be "improved landscaping and biodiversity" and long-term benefits, citing an agreement to maintain an 18-hole golf course in perpetuity; including throughout the construction period.
Objector Eileen Lockwood says the plans to remove the lake could disrupt local wildlife and the surrounding ecology.
"No-one is in favour of environmental vandalism," she said.
James Podesta, a spokesperson for the planning scheme, said that new ponds would be created at the existing third, fifth and eighth holes and further ponds sited to support populations of great crested newts.
A new practice area and buggy storage would also be built near the existing clubhouse, which dates back to 1625.
A shortage of affordable housing and rapid urbanisation is putting golf courses at risk globally as property developers target courses for redevelopment.
Syngenta Golf recently highlighted issues in Hong Kong, South Africa and Australia, where governments, social activists and developers are aiming to repurpose courses for social housing and private residential developments.
To read more about the threats facing golf and how the industry can respond, discover Syngenta Golf’s multimedia feature, ‘Golf Under Threat?’