Having been asked again how the landfill, here now overgrown, neglected, and an illegal breach of planning condition almost hiding the course sign, of the Beacon Park Golf Course came about, you can read below the originating email from the then course leaseholder Mark Prosser of DCT Leisure Ltd, who described it as “creating infill”.
“We are right now exploring the viability of making some improvements to the facilities here at Beacon Park . For some time now we have been in discussion with WLBC regarding the development of a new 9 hole Junior Academy par 3 course on the spare land on the site which used to be the old driving range, and that will be one phase in the proposed development. That will provide a fantastic added amenity and provide a superb facility not just for the established golfer for short game practice but also for those new to the game, both young and old, to come and get involved in the game of golf.
“We are also looking to develop our driving range which is currently really just a field by providing a far more attractive facility with raised greens, perimeter mounding and improved targets, so that’s exciting too. This means we can improve the security to the range as well as the safety issues with regard to perimeter fencing, which I believe needs to be addressed.
“On the course, there are just a couple of areas that need attention: The “first” is a recurring nightmare as at the foot of the hill just in front of the green there is a natural “sump” that constantly holds water. The green also suffers from lack of sunlight as the trees all around have developed. Raising that green will be massively beneficial, not just because we can drain under, but also by bringing it more into the natural sunlight. The green itself is not in the greatest condition after prolonged vandalism, so to have a new purpose built green will be fantastic. At the moment as well, the big hitters who get the ball over the brow of the hill often end up on the green as the hill adds extra yards. By leveling this out that “advantage” will be eliminated providing a more equitable situation with everyone required to hit a second into the green. The second tee will be raised and completely rebuilt with additional winter tee and tee options. This work should mean that the quagmire we live with every winter in that area will be eliminated to a distant memory .
“The “sixth” hole is considered by many to be “unfair” as it penalizes a good tee shot due to the severity of the slope from left to right. To provide a level landing zone just makes great sense so we can address this as part of the overall project.
“We will also be looking to remodel the “fifth” slightly. Again being at the bottom of the hill this will help with drainage issues, but we will also enhance the visual impact of the hole and introduce strategic hazards to cause those who wish to “go for the green in one”, to have to consider the “risk”/ “reward” balance.
“The 13th and 14th are just crying out for some remodeling, they are currently pretty bland and again being at the foot of the hill suffer from the torrents of water that flow down to that area. By raising strategically not only can we drain under, but also dramatically improve their visual impact. I envisage a new raised green for the 13th possibly with a little additional length, there is spare land at the back of the green, with sculpting of both fairways. I do not envisage any changes to the 14th green.
“Whilst the project is under way and we have the resources available we will also be enhancing existing tee zones and building much needed winter tees where-ever necessary, and the 16th will be at the top of that list. We are totally cognizant of the concerns of all parties and of course have commissioned all the relevant consultations with regard to Flora, Fauna and Ecology and Traffic Management and will of course be working hand in glove with WLBC on all matters arising.
“I’m really excited about this project, the costs are massive and in the normal course it is unlikely that DCT or WLBC would allocate the necessary funding. However it was brought to my attention last year that when developers are excavating a site pre build, they need to find somewhere to put what they dig up, and are prepared to pay someone to take it. Well all of a sudden what would otherwise have been impossible was suddenly possible – what is a nuisance to them is exactly what we need to create the infill. [Cue the entry of Oakland Golf and Leisure Ltd ]
“It’s very early days yet, the initial planning applications are with WLBC so we’ll see where that takes us. I’ve worked out a way to manage the works so we can play 18 holes throughout the project, so I am happy with that and if the project gets the go ahead it will be scheduled for minimum disruption to start October time so the bulk of the heavy work is completed over the winter months whilst the course is at its quietest.
“Once we get approval I will get the members involved with the Course Architect so we can all agree the way we would like the re developed holes to look and what hazards (Bunkering etc) would add maximum value to ensure that we have a challenging and fair enhanced course.
“I hope that gives you an overview of what we are setting out to achieve and if any one has any queries, please do not hesitate to call in for a chat. Your support is fundamental to this project and I am hopeful that by working together we might even retain a budget for some strategically placed perimeter fencing, however we will review that at a later stage.
“I will keep you up to speed as things develop”.
Best Wishes, Mark Prosser
Permission was granted, including this comment from WLBC that “Characteristics of the Potential Impacts-Whilst the proposed development exceeds the indicative threshold set out in Annex A to Circular 02/99 for such urban development projects, I consider the development of this site is not of significantly greater scale than surrounding land uses. Neither the site nor the surrounding land is significantly environmentally sensitive and the proposal will not result in any appreciable increase in traffic, emissions or noise, other than in the short term whilst inert soil is imported to the site and the site is remodelled.
“It is considered that in view of the scale, location and form of the development, its impact will be no more than local. The proposal is not considered to have impacts of substantial extent, magnitude or complexity and construction impact will be short lived”. Really? 5 years is short lived? The course facing ruin for competition golf?