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Golf course under threat

PUBLISHED: 12:34 30 January 2008 | UPDATED: 11:30 01 July 2010



Date: 26.01.08
Beckenham Place Golf Course.

Ref:  Pictures by  Andy Barnes

Date: 26.01.08 Beckenham Place Golf Course. Ref: Pictures by Andy Barnes

Kentish Times

FURIOUS golfers have vowed to fight against council plans that could see their course halved, writes Kate Nelson Beckenham Place Park, which has 18 holes and houses two golf clubs, may shrink to a nine-hole course if Lewisham council go ahead with their

FURIOUS golfers have vowed to fight against council plans that could see their course halved, writes Kate Nelson

Beckenham Place Park, which has 18 holes and houses two golf clubs, may shrink to a nine-hole course if Lewisham council go ahead with their plans to lease half the 96-hectare land.

The council say they cannot afford the £8 million repair of the eighteenth century mansion, Beckenham Place, and plan to sell a log lease to developers who will receive part of the golf course as part of the deal.

Chairman of Braeside golf club, David Hansom, said the mansion is part of what makes the park precious and that the golfers "will fight to the end".

He said: "If the council go ahead with this it will rip the heart out of the park. People are horrified at the thought of the change and I think a lot of players would stop coming if it was only nine holes.

"The park is an oasis in the middle of a built up area. At one time it was in the Guinness book of records for being the most played on course.

"Golf has a reputation for being elitist but Beckenham Place Park brought golf to the people and I know many people who learnt to play here."

The Grade II listed mansion is currently home to a visitor's centre and a café which Lewisham council are proposing to move to outbuildings which campaigners say are in desperate need of repair.

If the council decide to cut the golf course in half, they will need to find a tenant for the mansion which Mr Hansom thinks will be difficult.

He said: "The council's plans are all pie in the sky at the moment. The house layout is quite difficult. I don't think it would suit offices or flats. We shouldn't let them get away with it. The house and park are much loved by the public and the golf course is one of a kind. It will knock the guts out of the place if we can't go in the mansion."

A Lewisham council spokesperson said: "In December 2007 the Council agreed to consult on the findings of a Feasibility Study of Beckenham Place Park. The Study explored options for a nine hole golf course, new sympathetic landscaping and the renovation of the currently dilapidated but listed Homesteads buildings to provide for golf management, a cafe/bar and other visitor facilities. The option of reducing the golf course to nine holes is considered to provide a better balance between the wider needs of users of the park and golfers. It is proposed that the council will consult on both nine and 18-hole options. The current plan, which it is proposed to consult upon, assumes that the Mansion will be marketed. This would be a long term project and, subject to the outcome of consultation, which will take place during Spring/Summer this year."

A public consultation will begin in March and last until last until July.

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