Maps show potential extent of housing at Brandhall Golf Course
Golfers have hit out at plans by Sandwell Council to close their Oldbury course saying new maps show it has little to do with creating a new park for the town and is really all about housing.
Lee Underhill, the president of Brandhall Golf Club, criticised the local authority’s proposals after seeing the maps which show how the land will be used for green space, housing and a proposed school.
The council announced its intention to close the course saying it offered the chance to create the borough’s first new major public park in Sandwell’s 45-year history.
It has also said the land can be used to build a new school to replace the existing ageing buildings at Causeway Green Primary as well as much-needed new homes.
But after seeing consultation documents, Mr Underhill said the proposal was really about more housing.
He said: “It‘s not about parks or green space, it’s purely about housing.
“They are not bothered about green space, they are not bothered about a school, it’s the housing side they are trying to push through.”
Earlier this month, the council launched a six-week consultation on the future use of the land after voting to close the course.
It has said the club has 318 members, below the expected number for an 18-hole golf course, of which nearly two-thirds live outside the borough.
It added 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.
As part of an online survey, Sandwell has published maps showing three options on how the land could be used in the future.
They reveal as much as 8.5 hectares could be used for park land but do not show how much land will be used for housing or the number of houses that would be built.
The website warns: “Some consideration has been given to the potential level of housing and parkland that could be delivered on Brandhall Golf Course.
“These are conceptual ideas only. Any redevelopment proposal would be subject to a full master plan and planning application.”
Sandwell Council refused to comment on Mr Underhill’s claims and declined to answer questions on how much of the course would be built on.
A spokesman said: “As outlined in the recent cabinet report (October 30), the council has identified three key areas of need for the local area that could be provided on the Brandhall Golf Course site should it be closed.”
- A new park. The golf course is currently not considered open space as its use is restricted. A proportion of the site could be used as an open space.
- A new school to replace the existing Causeway Green Primary School which is currently in poor condition.
- Much-needed housing for the local community that specifically meets local needs with a mixture of sizes and tenures.
“The diagrams that are being shared as part of our consultation process aim to show potential uses of the site and how it could be potentially divided between the three key areas of need.
“They are purely indicative and should the decision be made to close the golf course and develop the site, a detailed master-plan would be developed.
“The amount of open space there could be alongside a new school and housing is one of the key parts of the public consultation.”
In addition, the council said the option of using 8.5 hectares as green space would see a park the size of 14 football pitches, the same size as Brunswick Park in Wednesbury, and would retain approximately a quarter of the site as formal open space.
It added elements of landscaping across the site, and a linear area of open space that would be retained as a buffer for the motorway and overhead pylons which has not been included as part of the 8.5ha figure.
The online survey can be viewed at https://bit.ly/2OMlGyY and residents can also attend three drop-in sessions being held at Brandhall Library on Wednesday, November 27 (1pm-4pm) and Monday December 16 (5pm-8pm).
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