The action group set-up in a bid to help save Southwood Golf Course has hit out at Rushmoor Council for not taking its views into consideration.
It was announced in a council meeting on Tuesday evening that the golf course, where Olympic champion Justin Rose first learned to play the game, will close and be turned into a Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG).
A SANG is needed in the area due to the meet the council’s Local Plan of wanting to build more homes and thus ‘regenerate’ the Farnborough area – but the Save our Southwood group is furious as it believes the council has completely turned a blind eye in its efforts to save the course.
“We’re totally disgusted by the council’s decision,” Michael Bartley, a spokesperson for Save our Southwood, told bunkered.co.uk. “They’ve tried to steamroll through their Local Plan and I don’t think they’ve done due diligence in terms of other options on what they can do about it.
“The meeting, from our view, was stage-managed. We had the presentation at the start and then the councillors themselves had their own internal debate on the matter. They were clearly teeing up questions that they knew the answer to but it was just to reach their decision, which was to close the course.
“They didn’t seem to have any other view and were unwilling to look into other options. They ignored the consultation where 61% of respondents voted to keep the course and it seemed like they single-handedly wanted to sign off the Local Plan without taking any other views or opinions into consideration.”
Bartley now fears that the popular social scene at Southwood will be ripped apart.
“The regulars are distraught,” he added. “There’s a good social community at Southwood – particularly among the seniors – and there’s a real fear that will be broken up as people go in different directions to play elsewhere.”
The lease on the land expires on March 31, 2019, but a deal could be struck to accelerate its closure.