Members of Temple Newsam Golf Club furious at the proposal to close the course due to what they believe to be incorrect figures from the council.
By Zoe Merry
An Executive Board meeting is being held on Wednesday at Leeds City Council to assess the future of the golf course and club house.
The Council claims that “Over the last decade, user numbers have significantly declined, which has contributed to a net cost to the council of over £200k a year.”
Dean Hardy, treasurer of Temple Newsam Gold Club refuses to agree with the figures the council have provided to back up their claim that the course is unsustainable.
He said:”We think it’s just a ruse to get us off the course. They want us out for whatever reason.”
Lee Lyons, a longstanding member, said:”This is a massive loss on a much bigger scale, there are so many benefits to users like; exercise, building new relationships, recovery from illnesses and injuries, mental health and obesity! It’s much more costly in the long run to get rid of it than to keep it.”
“They want us out”
The Council have proposed to convert the space into something they believe will be more inclusive, including a cycling trail and BMX track which can allow enjoyment for a larger number of people.
The council report says: “It is proposed that the section of Temple Newsam estate currently used for golf is transformed into a family cycling centre including road-safety park, family cycle trails and small BMX pump track. We are continuing to look at ways in which we can manage the delicate balance of maximising and improving the visitor experience, whilst also opening up opportunities for new income.
“It makes sense to consider options for closing the golf course to reduce the cost to the council and get more people using this part of the estate for wider recreational activities.”
The course, which was opened by Lord Irwin in 1923 has been home to professional tournaments since the 1930’s.
Hardy said: “What people don’t realise is that this course is a long standing part of the community here in Leeds, especially for the elderly.
“The older people don’t want to lose the course because its their whole social life and their access to exercise. They can’t travel elsewhere and private clubs are twice as expensive as membership here.
“No one here is in favour of what they want to do. The council are just not talking to us. If we were to be consulted, I’m sure we could come to some compromise.”
Hardy is hopeful that the decision will be overturned at the meeting on Wednesday.
All members, regarding LCC proposals.
WE WILL BE FIGHTING THIS, THIS IS NOT A DONE DEAL !!!
We will need your support
— Temple Newsam GC (@TempleNewsamGC) October 2, 2019
“I don’t see how the course is sustainable”
However, many local people who are not members of the club are in favour of the regeneration.
Tom Whelan said:” I live really close to the course and I just don’t see how the course is sustainable. It’s simple economics unfortunately, if it’s not making money it should close.”
The councils plans to transform the golf course are due to cost around £1,000,000 and will cost £60,000 in yearly upkeep.
Andy Manson, chair of local community group We Are Halton said: “The current committee seem to be happy to maintain small membership numbers, in order to keep the venue almost as a private club.
“A multi use facility would be a much better use of the area, the events venue would create revenue, the cycle track will be a great educational facility for schools and younger people to learn road safety and the club house will make a fantastic much needed refreshment area.
“It will make Temple Newsam Estate a fantastic visitor attraction to compete with others around Yorkshire.”