Agenda item

Southwood Golf Course Consultation

To receive a report on the consultation regarding the future use of the Southwood Golf Course.


The Panel welcomed Mr. Ashley Sharpe, Principal Contracts Manager, who attended the meeting to report on the consultation process for the Southwood Golf Course. It was noted that a consultation had been prepared to consider the possibility of converting the golf course into natural open parkland (SANG – Suitable Alternative Natural Green Space) to enable 2,500 new homes to be built across the Borough. The Panel noted that Natural England had visited the course and had agreed in principle, subject to a feasibility study incorporating a management plan, flood risk assessment and visitor surveys, to the possibilities set out in the consultation.


Mr. Sharpe gave a background to activity at the golf course. It was noted that the course hosted an average of 25,000 rounds at a subsidy of £40,000 per annum. A “Golf Club” operated at the course and had around 175 members, half of which were resident within the Borough. It was advised that Southwood was the most affordable course in the local area, with Oak Park, Crondall and Pine Ridge, Frimley costing almost £10 more for a mid-week round of golf. The current operator of the course was Mack Trading and it was advised that the tender was due for renewal in Spring, 2019.


The Panel was advised that the consultation period had started on 8th August and would run until 29th September, 2017. The consultation had been made available online and in hard copy and had been promoted through the web, social media, leaflet drops, press releases, static displays and open public meetings, the next of which had been scheduled for 18th September, 2017 at the Southwood Community Centre at 6.30p.m.


It was explained that a discussion on the way forward was unlikely before the end of 2017. However, the Panel was advised that a joint meeting of the Leisure and Youth and Environment Policy and Review Panels had been suggested to allow further discussion to prepare a combined response for the Cabinet. This was supported by the Panel.


The Panel was also made aware of a petition being co-ordinated by campaigners. Once it had been submitted a decision would be made on how to submit it to Members


Members discussed the process and the possible outcomes of the consultation. A number of issues were raised, including, an option for dual use of the land with an offer of a nine hole golf course with a driving range and parkland, further investigation into other possible SANG available to the Council, and clarity on Natural England’s position on dual use of the land.


The Panel AGREED:


Action to be taken


By Whom


A joint meeting with the Environment Policy and Review Panel be arranged.


Mr. Andrew Colver, Head of Democratic and Customer Services

October, 2017

Consider other options including; a part golf/part SANG dual use

facility, and/or other available SANG in the area.


Mr. Peter Amies, Head of Community and Environmental Services

October, 2017

Identify Natural England’s position on the possible dual use of the land.

Mr. Ashley Sharpe, Principal Contracts Manager


October, 2017