Brandhall Golf Course in talks with lawyers over potential closure
A Sandwell golf club has said it is in discussions with lawyers after council bosses launched a consultation on closing the 18-hole course.
The move comes after Sandwell Council's cabinet approved a recommendation to close Brandhall Golf Club, putting forward proposals to reuse the land for housing, a new school and a park.
Davis Hart, a former president and secretary the 116-year-old club, said members and golfers who used the course were passionate about saving it for the future.
He said: "The opinion for everyone we talk too is that they want to keep the club and the course open. They are all extremely annoyed that they are even contemplating closing it.
“Apart from anything else, various members and others from the local community have had their ashes scattered on the course.
“It holds very dear memories for people.”
He added that the club committee were told of the closure plans only a day before the official announcement and Sandwell Leisure Trust – which operates the course on behalf of the authority – has since refused to say how much it takes in playing fees.
He confirmed the club was now seeking legal advice, but declined to go into further detail.
Mr Hart said an online petition has already attracted more than 300 signatures opposing the plans and that members are determined to fight the closure.
In a statement announcing a six-week consultation, Sandwell Council said the course has 318 members – beyond the expected number for an 18-hole golf course, of which nearly two-thirds live outside Sandwell.
It also said research showed attendances at the course have fallen by a quarter in five years and it will cost £257,000 a year to keep open.
In addition, it says £3 million would need to be spent on major improvements to bring it up to the required standard for the future.
Councillor Yvonne Davies, council leader, said: “We are keen to hear what people think and this consultation will give everyone the chance to have their say.
"We have heard from some club members who are disappointed at our proposal to close the course and they will have six weeks of formal consultation to present their views to us.
“We have to consider how best to invest in the long-term future of the local community, so we also want to hear from local residents to make sure everyone’s needs are considered.”
She added the site offered an opportunity to create the borough’s first new major public park in Sandwell’s 45-year history, plus housing and a school.
The findings of the consultation will be reported to the council’s cabinet for consideration early next year, when a final decision can be taken on the future of the course and its club house.