There Is Still an Appetite for Golf To Continue at Cleeve Hill
Article by Golfshake Ambassador Andy Picken
Tewkesbury Borough Council recently met to discuss the issues around the planned closure of Cleeve Hill Golf Course. They were planning to close the facility on 31st March 2021 and let the course return to its natural form through the withdrawal of basic maintenance.
This classic inland links has a number of unique architectural features having been originally designed by Old Tom Morris and later being enhanced by Dr Alister MacKenzie.
The course itself is licenced for golf through the Cleeve Common Trust with a lease being maintained by the council on the clubhouse and its attached lands.
Many of the current and past members of the course have joined forces to try to keep the course alive and running as a going concern.
Very quickly around 3,000 people joined a Facebook group and its social media profile rocketed when they started to promote a wonderful video created by Cookie Jar Golf that illustrated perfectly why this facility deserved to be saved.
Municipal golf in the UK is having great difficulties at the moment given the competing demands for funding from many local and district councils. As soon as financial subsidies are required to support them, they are being abandoned at an alarming rate. These courses are the feeder venues for many of our private clubs. I began my own golfing career many years ago at exactly such a venue. Allestree Park in Derby. This is also currently at risk with funding being removed by the local council.
In the case of Cleeve Hill, I am very pleased to report some positive news.
There has been a welcome rethinking of the proposed plans by the Council, with a strong possibility that the venue will be able to remain a pay and play golf course accessible to all.
It is clear that they have responded to the campaign and messages of support from across the world of golf like that sent by Sir Nick Faldo.
The Council report dated 21/10/20 details the public response to news of the closure:
“Since this information has come into the public domain, it has been recognised that there is still an appetite for golf to continue on the hill, resulting in several parties expressing an interest to take on a new lease of the clubhouse.”
It appears that there are a number of interested parties wishing to go forward and preserve the golf course but also enhance the clubhouse facilities to be better accessible to all those who use the area for health, welfare and wellbeing.
Annually over 45,000 walkers alone use the footpaths and bridleways that run adjacent to the course.
A tentative agreement has been established between the Cleeve Common Trust and the Council and the club and its supporters. They are jointly looking at ways of ensuring that the best interested party is selected in a fair and transparent manner for the benefit if all.
If you took the time to sign the petition to save the course.
It appears that the municipal authorities have listened and are now actively looking for an alternative to closure that will allow the course to remain and thrive in a way that will be accessible to all its potential users.
At Golfshake we will continue to monitor progress in the hope that this intriguing facility will be kept alive for many years to come.
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