Leeds golfers launch fight to save Temple Newsam club after shock plans for closure

Golfers in Leeds have launched a fight to keep Temple Newsam Golf Club open, after Leeds Council announced plans to permanently close the club.

Friday, 11th October 2019, 5:00 pm
Updated Saturday, 12th October 2019, 2:06 pm
Temple Newsam Golf Club directors Kevin Gallagher, Charlie Brown (chair), Michael Murray and Dean Hardy.

Plans to replace the golf course with a family cycling centre and events space will be discussed at Leeds Council's Executive Board meeting on October 16.

Temple Newsam Golf Club is a municipal - or public - course which opened in 1923 and was designed to give working-class people access to a golf club membership.

If the new project is approved, the club will close leaving only Roundhay Park Golf Club open to the public in Leeds.

Leeds Council have revealed shock plans to close Temple Newsam Golf Club, which is nearly 100 years old, to turn it into a family cycling centre and events space

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-> Homeless Street Angels devastated after only van written off on Leeds Light NightThe club's directors say the plans were sprung on them 'out of the blue' when council representatives visited them on September 30.

Director Paul Stringer, aged 58, has been a member of the golf club since 1972 and says that for many older people the club provides their only form of exercise.

He said: "It's my hobby, it's been a social hub for me and my friends for over 40 years.

"The club has nearly 200 playing members and many are over retirement age.

"If it was suddenly taken away, an awful lot would stop playing as many do not have the money or the transport to play at a private golf club.

"It would have a physical and psychological effect and I don't think this has been taken into consideration."

The club's directors argue that the new cycling centre will increase anti-social behaviour in the area without the 24/7 management of the golf club.

They also claim that public consultation questionnaires will be sent to families who are sympathetic to the new project, rather than the golfers who benefit from the club.

Paul says the directors are willing to compromise and want to work with the council to draw up new plans.

He added: "This came completely out of the blue. Looking at the plans, the council could still incorporate the golf course in what they're planning to do.

"They could reduce the course to 18 holes and a smaller footprint, which would be easier to maintain and less expensive, freeing up money for other projects."

The first plans for the Temple Newsam cycling centre include cycle trails, a BMX pump-track and a family road-safety park which can host cycling workshops for schools.

There will also be a cafe and a new events space for gigs, festivals and other events.

Middleton Park underwent a similar transformation in 2018 when the golf course was replaced by a new bike hub.

What does Leeds Council say about the proposal?

In the agenda for the Executive Board meeting, the council says: "Reflecting a national decline in the number of people playing golf, user and income figures for golf at the Temple Newsam golf courses has steadily declined over the last decade.

"As a consequence, managing the golf course is now costing the council over £200k a year.

"To increase the popularity of the area for estate visitors and reduce costs, it is proposed that the section of Temple Newsam estate currently used for golf is transformed into a family cycling centre including road-safety park, family cycle trails and small BMX pump track that is managed and operated by the Temple Newsam estate team.

"It is also proposed that the potential to create an events space in the area is explored with the aim of increasing income from commercial events, whilst reducing the impact that some events can have on the estate visitor hub and local residents."