Campaigners are urging local councillors not to accept a bid which they say will see golf provision at the Approach golf course in Bath removed and limit public access to the site.
Two reports are set to be considered by Bath & North East Somerset Council’s cabinet tomorrow, Thursday 11th February, with the future of both the Approach and Entry Hill golf courses being decided.
The Approach site at the High Common was closed at the start of the pandemic and has not officially reopened.
A tendering process for taking over the open space received just one submission, leading to concern from residents that the local authority will go ahead with the potential operator’s plans, which are expected to remove golf provision entirely.
Posts on social media suggest the site could be transformed into a disc golf course, which sees players throw a disc (frisbee) at a target, with rules similar to golf.
Bath & North East Somerset Council says more than five golf operators were approached during the tender process, but no final bids were made.
A petition on Change.org has now received more than 3,500 signatures, with comments including “it is a unique facility that is irreplaceable” and “the development of this course would cause irreversible damage”.
Last week, B&NES Council leader Cllr Dine Romero said: “We are aware of lots of rumour, misinformation and speculation about the future of the High Common, specifically the Approach Golf course. This beautiful place is not under threat.
“Given the procurement process it has not been possible to give as much information as we would have liked. No decision has been made.
“Cabinet has the option of appointing a bidder, or can choose not to proceed with the process.
“We can assure you, whatever the outcome of the discussion at cabinet on Thursday, this is not the end of the debate, there will be no change to the provision in this area without a full, meaningful consultation with residents.”
Residents, including the Friends of the High Common campaign group, are now calling for a pause on the forthcoming decision, along with a public consultation to allow for concerns and views to be taken on board before a final decision is made on the future of the site.
Lansdown ward Liberal Democrat councillors Lucy Hodge and Mark Elliott have been liaising with residents and say local opposition to a non-traditional golf activity is clear.
They have called on the B&NES Cabinet to conclude the procurement process by not appointing a preferred bidder for the contract.
In a joint statement, they said: “We have made strong representations to Cabinet members to ensure they are aware of the strength of local feeling regarding the High Common.
“They are completely clear that neither we as ward councillors, nor local residents, can accept non-traditional golf-derived sports on this special site.
“One of the options available to the Cabinet, as outlined in the decision paper, is not to proceed with the preferred bidder process.
“This is the option we have urged them to consider and we are confident that we have been heard.”
The two reports on the future of Entry Hill and the Approach golf courses will go before the council’s cabinet tomorrow evening, 11th February, and can be viewed here.