The Parliamentary Golf Group has expressed its extreme disappointment at both the closure of Beckenham Place Park Golf Course, and the confirmation of the Heritage Lottery Fund grant made yesterday, which seals the destruction of the course.
The course, which was the first ever public golf course in England, and the only public course in central London, was closed by Lewisham Council as part of their proposed, potential, ‘improvements’ to Beckenham Place Park, using Heritage Lottery Fund money.
The Group visited the course in July to show their support for those campaigning to keep it open, and also wrote at length to Lewisham Council, and specifically the Mayor of Lewisham and Mayor of London, asking them to reconsider the plans to close the course. In particular, the Group was critical of the consultation process that Lewisham Council supposedly underwent with regard to the park, as the evidence seemed to indicate that there was actually much more support for the retention of golfing facilities.
Group Chairman and Member of Parliament for Lincoln, Karl McCartney MP, said “I was disappointed that previously Lewisham Council had taken the decision to close Beckenham Place Park Golf Course as part of their proposed but untested plans to supposedly ‘regenerate’ the park, using Heritage Lottery Fund money. Lewisham Council were clearly not as transparent or open as they could have been throughout the process, and the consultation that was made was inadequate.
“Most disappointing were the Council’s attempts to seek to explain the arguments of the Group as misinformed and of a minority, when this clearly and demonstrably was not the case. It is saddening that the course has already been closed, preventing access to the sport to those who cannot afford or access it at private, or other proprietary courses.
“Yesterday’s announcement from the HLF shows that the powers that be are happy to ignore the current users and to follow the desires of a small clique of Lewisham’s politicians, who remarkably wish to be seen as some modern day Capability Brown, reconstituting a landed gentry country park it seems, that cannot sit comfortably with their socialist ideals.”
Parliamentary Golf Group www.parliamentary.golf