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UNCERTAINTY: Bath golf course fundraiser concerns

UNCERTAINTY: Bath golf course fundraiser concerns

Image: LDRS

Campaigners are striving to raise £15,000 to bring a Bath golf course back into use after months of uncertainty. 

Ben Reed said the cash would fund restoring the greens on the 18 hole-course at the Approach and an initial few months of maintenance, with hopes that club hire and donations will make the site self-funding.

He revealed that he had been in talks with Bath and North East Somerset Council since the cabinet rejected the only bid to run the facility – as a disc golf course – in February.

Members said then there would be a two-year pause and promised nothing would start without a “big consultation” – something critics say is now missing.

Mr Reed argued that consultation was only promised if the long-standing use of the Approach was proposed to change.

He wrote on his online fundraising page, which has clocked up more than £1,300 in five days: “A group of residents and golfers have remained in discussion with the council to look at ways to allow golf to be played again, and a low-cost solution is now on the table for the greens and tee areas on the 18-hole course to be restored and maintained by a local charity.

“To fund this work we are aiming to raise an initial £15,000. This would pay for the sprinkler system to be brought back into use, the tee areas to be tidied up, the greens to be cut, repaired and reseeded, plus an initial six months of regular maintenance.

“Once the course is up and running again, the intention is to re-establish ongoing funding by encouraging golfers to donate each time they play, and by once again offering club hire on site.”

Before Covid-19 forced its closure The Approach offered an 18-hole and a 12-hole course and cost the council £30,000 a year.

News of the fundraiser follows Councillor Kevin Guy’s commitment in May in his first speech as council leader to keep a golf course on the site, subject to a viable operator being identified.

He said the authority had “listened to the thousands who signed the petition on the Approach Golf Course”.

Nearly 5,000 people have now signed Mr Reed’s petition – entitled “Keep Bath Approach Golf Course open” – but some of those who did later said they were not interested in golf and only wanted to protect the wider High Common.

One person with the Twitter handle @kiwiinbath tweeted: “a very large number of local residents who signed the petition, did so solely to STOP disc golf.”

Others said they were told the only way to stop the disc golf bid was to support the petition. But Mr Reed tweeted that the aim of his petition was unambiguous and not a single person had removed their signature.

He accused critics of “hijacking” his petition and being “hell-bent on keeping it for your own semi-private park”.

Mr Reed said using his @BathGolf Twitter handle: “The Approach Course has never been and will never be unusable by residents. At the moment the only group excluded are those who’ve funded it for the past 60 years by paying to hit a few golf balls around. This is hardly fair.”

Emilio Pimentel-Reid, who chairs the Friends of the High Common, said the campaign was “another example of lack of transparency and no engagement with local residents”.

 

Words: Stephen Sumner, Local Democracy Reporter


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