By Matt Jarram, Local Democracy Reporter
Part of a golf course could be turned into a housing estate as part of a council’s plans to asses its future.
The Conservative-run authority will be discussing Edwalton Golf Course at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, February 8.
A detailed technical assessment was made of the current par 3 course at the site to look at the opportunities and constraints of the site for potential redevelopment.
The council says the course could represent “a good option for residential development” although it adds it should be retained at the present time as “an important community facility”.
The council says it acknowledges that there is likely to be “sufficient housing supply” in Rushcliffe to 2038 without the need to allocate this site within its housing plan, but that it be included in “a pipeline of potential sites for future consideration”.
The technical assessments exercise identified a number of potential problems, including the presence of a number of trees and vegetation, overhead electricity cables and Gamston Brook, which cuts through the centre of the site.
A council report to cabinet says: “The site, therefore, is considered to represent a good option for residential development from a planning perspective and could be included in a pipeline of potential sites for future consideration as part of the Local Plan process should the requirement for further sites arise.”
The council says while the facility should be retained in some form, the golf course has been running at a significant loss of around £44,000 on average over the three-year period 2017-2019.
This is despite many initiatives including improvements to the clubhouse facilities, enhanced marketing and events, signage, and investment in the golf simulator.
However, since the easing of the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, the council says more people have been coming back to use the course.
This was further aided by golf being one of the first sports to be allowed to be played when lockdown restrictions were eased.
The recent increase in golfers has also seen an improvement in the financial losses from the site and the £44,000 has decreased with the course now broadly breaking even.
The course had an annual usage of 45,235 in 2021 compared to just under 39,000 in 2018. The golf centre celebrated its 40th anniversary last year.
The report added: “It is noted that the increases in golf participation and revenue position have come about via an extraordinary set of circumstances, and it is not yet known whether this will be a positive legacy as a result of Covid. It does have the potential to retain, and increase the number of users, providing facilities improve and there is a high-quality golf offer.”
A feasibility study also suggested new 15-20 bay modern driving range would enhance the golfing offer on the site and should also raise the profile of the 9-hole standard course if the par 3 course was to be redeveloped.
Clarification: This article was amended at 11.05 on Monday, February 7 2021 to remove the attribution of quotes from the report to Cllr Andy Edyvean. While his name appears on the original document, Rushcliffe Borough Council has clarified that he is not the author, and therefore should not have been quoted as such in our original article. The report was instead written by a council officer, not Cllr Edyvean, whose name appeared on the document as he will present it to cabinet for discussion.