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Parking row breaks out over Walsall adventure golf course plan

By Gurdip Thandi | Walsall | Business | Published: | Last Updated:

A "golf war" has broken out between owners of two facilities based on the same Walsall site where plans for an adventure course have been approved.

The entrance to Calderfields, off Aldridge Road, Walsall. Photo: Google

Walsall Council’s planning committee approved the bid by Colin Andrews to introduce the crazy golf-style facilityat Calderfields Driving Range on Aldridge Road at a meeting last week.

But Tranter Richards, who own Calderfields Golf and Country Club, strongly objected to the plan, branding the adventure course as “far from aesthetically pleasing” and harming the green belt area the site is in.

The company also said it has a legal agreement which prohibits the use of their 179-space car park for anything other than the driving range and shop.

Representatives for Mr Andrews said the adventure course would create jobs and promote healthy communities through outdoor sport and recreation.

Officers advised the committee that any legal dispute over the use of the car park was not a material planning consideration and would have to be resolved through civil proceedings between the two parties.

A plan of how the new Adventure Course at Claderfields Driving Range will be laid out. Photo: Google

Daniel Lowe, general manager of Calderfields Golf and Country Club, said: “Eleven years ago, the applicant sold the golf club, car park and assets to current owners Tranter Richards and retained the golf driving range and shop as a standalone business.

“Over the last decade, Tranter Richards have invested heavily into the venue to become arguably Walsall’s most prestigious wedding and golfing venue.

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“With all of the aforementioned, it is not uncommon for all of the car park and disabled bays to reach maximum capacity

“The proposed venture with its four by four jeeps, crashed aeroplanes, large imitation animals are far from aesthetically pleasing and commonly found at a seaside resort or theme park.

“These proposals completely degrade the value of protecting the green belt site and does not demonstrate very special reasons to be constructed on protected open space.

“There is no parking whatsoever to service this proposal. Parking becomes a major issue and a legal agreement precludes any use of an existing car park except for the driving range and shop.”

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James Brookes, of Lapworth Architects Ltd who represented Mr Andrews , said: “Having this type of facility would help introduce people to the game.

“It also creates 10 jobs and provides an immediate £500,000 investment in Walsall.”

Designer Manraj Singh, of Lapworth Architects Ltd who represented Mr Andrews, said: “The social and economic benefits will help contribute towards the creation of healthy communities by encouraging young people to participate in outdoor sport and recreation.

“Comments have been made that the game would be made unsafe on the grounds of health and safety. Users of the area would be given one putter each to play the game. It is unlikely that the golf balls would be flying through the air.

“The whole activity is aimed at the whole family. The adventure game would not be visible and situated behind an existing building.”

Mr Singh added that most of the 34 letters of objection received were worded the same and added people might not have understood what they were putting their name to.

But ward councillor Aftab Nawaz, who opposed granting permission for the scheme, said: “You can’t assume people don’t understand what they are signing. Residents in my ward are intelligent people who would have read the letters.”

Gurdip Thandi

By Gurdip Thandi
@Gurdo

Local Democracy Reporter covering Walsall.

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