Plan to cut golf course in half denied in big win for campaigners

Proposals to repurpose half a golf course into a housing estate have now been refused in a big win for local campaigners.

Anwyl Homes had originally applied for permission to build 233 properties at Widnes Golf Club but last March the plans were thrown out by Halton Borough Council. Anwyl Homes and Widnes Golf Club then appealed the decision to the Planning Inspectorate, a government body with the authority to overturn local decisions on land use.

This week their appeal was dismissed and the proposals rejected by the inspectorate, on the recommendation of Rory Cridland, an inspector appointed by the secretary of state. The ‘unacceptable loss of existing sport or recreation facilities’ and the unmitigated loss of ’54 tree groups’ along the section of the course that would be repurposed were two of the reasons cited.

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Cheshire Live reported that over 2,000 people living in the borough of Halton had signed a petition against the original plans. If the appeal was successful, it would’ve seen the golf club’s 18 hole course halved to nine holes to make space for the 233 proposed new homes, which included social housing..

The dismissal represented a big win for those campaigning against the repurposing of the green open space, including local councillors such as Highfield councillor Andrea Wall who called the course ‘an important piece of green infrastructure’ in the area that should be protected ‘for future generations’.

After the appeal was rejected Ms Wall said to her followers on Facebook: “I’m over the moon for all the local residents that would’ve been so badly impacted if this would’ve been allowed to go ahead. I want to say thank you to everybody that helped.”

Speaking on behalf of Anwyl earlier this year, John Barrett said: “An appropriate golf needs assessment has been prepared which identified the Widnes Golf Club in its current form had a number of significant issues, including the configuration of the golf course itself, its proximity to housing, a dated club house, declining membership and financial viability issues.

“The proposed development provides an opportunity and the financial mechanism to improve the golfing offer at the sight, providing a better quality, more accessible and sustainable golfing venue and facility.”

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