Assurances have been given at Reigate & Banstead Borough Council that the Redhill & Reigate Golf Club course, near Earlswood Lakes, will not be built on after the club closes at the end of March.
The council owns the land on which the 18-hole course sits, and licenses it to the club. Last month the two organisations issued a joint statement announcing the closure, saying the club was no longer financially sustainable, despite their efforts.
At a council meeting on 7 February, Cllr Alex Horwood, executive member for neighbourhood services, said:
“Earlswood Common and the area currently used as a golf course are very important from a nature and recreation perspective, and I can offer reassurance that the site cannot be developed upon.
The course itself is protected by a number of land designations, through local and national policy.
The site is Metropolitan Greenbelt, a Local Nature Reserve, a Site of Nature Conservation Importance and is registered Common Land.
The combination of these designations places specific limits on its future use.
I can confirm that our future intentions are only to consider leisure solutions which are appropriate for the area and the site.”
Cllr Horwood said that two options are being looked at for the site: to keep the land for golf but with a new operator, or to put in place a conservation management plan to improve the site’s biodiversity – or some combination of the two.
Further discussion and consultation are expected before a firm decision is taken, he added.
Cllr Horwood also gave details of how the council had tried to help the club, with a “significant concession” against market value when the licence was granted in 2009, as well as further financial concessions in 2014 and 2017.
Cllr Horwood was responding to questions put down at the meeting by fellow-Conservative Cllr Barbara Thomson and Green Party Cllr Hal Brown, both representatives for the Earlswood & Whitebushes ward.
Although the council owns the land on which the course sits, it does not own the clubhouse, on the other side of Pendleton Road, and so does not directly control the future of that building.
The course itself sits on common land, and although the club is allowed to operate on it, rights of others to use the common are not affected.
More details about the closure, on 31 March, can be found in our earlier article.