Golfers rally to save historic course from shrinkage plan
PUBLISHED: 16:39 06 August 2008 | UPDATED: 11:50 12 August 2010
MORE than 100 supporters of a campaign to save an 18-hole public golf course attended an event to raise awareness of the protest
MORE than 100 supporters of a campaign to save an 18-hole public golf course attended an event to raise awareness of the protest.
The 'Save the 18-Hole' day was organised jointly by members of Braeside Golf Club and the Friends of Beckenham Place Park who want to stop the park's golf course being changed in to a nine-hole by Lewisham council.
The council say they cannot afford the £8 million repair of the 18th century mansion, Beckenham Place, and so want to sell a long lease to a developer who will receive part of the golf course's land as part of the deal.
There is currently a public consultation underway which is expected to last until September.
The campaigners are urging the public to sign Downing Street website petitions, one to save the course and the other to save the mansion, which are open until this Saturday and Friday, August 29 respectively.
Secretary of Braeside Golf Club David Hansom, said: "The main spin-off from last Friday was that it provided a fillip for the campaign. The Prime Minister's office will now have to consider the petition and take appropriate action. The petition calls for the Prime Minister to reject any attempt by Lewisham council to change the golf course so we await the response with interest."
Some 63 golfers took part in an 18-hole competition around the tree-lined course which meanders through the park and the Friends of Beckenham Place Park opened the Grade 2* listed mansion and gave tours of the main rooms. Mr Hansom added: "Those who hadn't seen the inside of the mansion before expressed astonishment at its grandeur which was tinged with regret that it had been allow to fall close to disrepair."
Player Michael Deane, from Catford, said: "I've played at Beckenham since I first moved into the area 20 years ago. It's a lovely course. I only play about twice a year but probably wouldn't play at all if anything happened to it. My mate Lee and I heard about the threat to turn it into a nine-hole which would completely ruin it. We both felt we just had to play today to register our protest at the proposal."
A Lewisham council spokesman said: "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.
"The council will consult with the public on both nine and 18-hole options and we will be reporting on the results of the focus groups once the other consultation activities have taken place and we can get a wider perspective on local people's views."
* To sign the petitions, visit http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Beckenham