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(Another) Leeds golf course to be turned into cycling facility

Cycling is the new golf (again)

People don’t say that cycling is the new golf anywhere near as much as they used to. That’s kind of a relief but the phrase still comes to mind upon learning that Leeds City Council are to close Temple Newsam Golf Club and instead build a cycling centre and “events space”.

Remarkably, this is not the first ‘Leeds golf course to be turned into cycling facility’ story we’ve covered here on road.cc. In 2014 plans were announced to transform Middleton Park golf course into a cycling centre with a 6.5km competition-standard mountain bike trail.

Leeds Live reports that the council is now looking to spend over £1m building a family cycling centre at Temple Newsam, including a road safety park, family cycle trails and a small BMX pump track.

Playing numbers at the golf club have reportedly 'steadily declined' over the last decade and managing the course now costs the taxpayer over £200,000 a year.

A council report states: "It makes sense to consider options for closing the golf course to reduce the cost to the council and get more people using this part of the estate for wider recreational activities.

"With regards the impact of closing the course on golfers at Temple Newsam, there are over 30 other golf courses in the Leeds metropolitan district, many of which offer pay and play and/or season tickets comparable with those available at Temple Newsam.

"Leeds City Council aims to continue providing golf at Roundhay Park, which is around 15 minutes’ drive from the Temple Newsam course."

The council will decide whether to proceed with the project at a meeting on Wednesday.

As you’d imagine, the golf club, which rents the land from the council for around £12,000 a year, is less than delighted with the proposal.

Dean Hardy, the club's treasurer, said: "Everyone is gutted. It's not just a golf club, it's also a social centre for a lot of people.

"A lot of our older members here are actually past their golfing days, but it's still a place where they can meet up with their friends on a regular basis.

"We are going to fight this and we've got around three months. Once it goes to a public consultation we will do everything we can to show the council there's no need to close the courses.”

Hardy says he doesn’t see why there couldn’t be both a golf course and a cycling centre.

“We don't see why they need all that space for cycle lanes."

He added: "We would be willing to discuss all options. I'm sure we can collaborate here and share facilities. There's got to be some way round this, so everyone can be happy."

Temple Newsam currently comprises an 18-hole course and a nine-hole course – the latter having already been shortened in a bit to attract more players.

Hardy said the club would be willing to give up another nine holes if it meant they could keep one course open.

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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13 comments

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Rick_Rude | 4 years ago
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Local councils should probably stick to the essentials in council life as if anything ever gets built it will half-assed, unlike the original vision and unfit for purpose after a few years. Look at the state of maintenance of the average kids play area or some of the skateparks that now look like some sort of ode to penis graffiti or have a layout thats makes no sense to anyone that's actually ridden a line in a skatepark. 

Get grant, spend on project, fail to maintain, say nobody uses it. I used to use a skatepark for messing about on the MTB and BMX but I gave up after literally having to take my brush and bags to clean up broken bottles and dogshit. That and getting old and my lad lost interest in coming with me. 

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crazy-legs | 4 years ago
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It would be interesting to see the exact plans they have for the place - is it another version of Leeds Urban Bike Park on the old Middleton Golf Course? That's excellent but it does take up the ENTIRE site, there's no room for a golf course or anything else there. (there is a network of walking trails in the woods which intersect a couple of times with the bike trails but segregation is very good, it's extremely rare that riders use the paths or walkers use the trails).

Or is it something like a road circuit around the outside which would be compatible with a golf course in the middle (assuming some netting to stop a stray ball going into the bunch!)

I can kind of see where the council is coming from - times are tight and if the place isn't paying for itself, it may even be pressure from the community to open it out to more users more often.

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peted76 | 4 years ago
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Thanks for taking the time to reply here Dean. 

Clearly this is another council not wanting the expense of upkeep of a golf course and looking for ideas to minimise their costs. 

With an 'abundance' of golf facilities within a few miles of yours, I hope your members will find somewhere to congregate/join. I do sympathise and frankly the idea of a golf/cycle hub isn't a bad one, but who says that the councils are in the business of making sensible decisions. 

Ties in quite nicely with my comment ref WDC who appear to be convinced that they need more golf facilities in our area seemingly against popular support or feeling. I believe this is a financially based decision also (even though the last Golf facility this new one is replacing couldn't make it commercially viable).

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Dean Hardy | 4 years ago
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Would like to clear up a few of the statements from previous comments. At no point did I ever say that "A lot of our older members here are actually past their golfing days" this is not true we have many golfers aged 65+ and they reley on golf for their physical and social well being.

Some of the statements in the council proposal are incorrect, Golf is in decline say the council, they have obviously not asked England Golf who strongly refuet this statement

The club does not rent the land we rent a building which the club is based, we still pay fees to the council to play on the course.

The club has in excess of 250 members, our conservative estimate is that there are around 15000 rounds of golf played at Temple Newsam a year, we cannot confirm this because it the council who own the figures, the same council who say the Leeds Cycle Superhighway has an estimated one million journeys per year.

Finally the golf club do not object to the provision of the facilities suggested, what we do object to is the fact that they want to close the current golf courses, Temple Newsam is a massive park with many acres of land where Golf and the proposed cycle track can both exist together. If Leeds City Council had consulted the golfers in the first place we could have proposed alternatives but they chose to ignore us. They propose to make the existing club house in a Bike / Cafe Hub why cant this building become a Bike / Golf / Cafe Hub and provide benefits for all.

 

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Philh68 | 4 years ago
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Room for a golf course and cycle paths, if they compromise - do they need both an 18 and 9 hole course? That’s a lot of course for a small club with limited resources to maintain in good playable condition. What amount of compromise are they prepared to make, because it’s not clear they’re prepared to make any.

My closest course is an 11 hole public course, nothing too challenging but it’s a cheap pay to play public course and popular as a result. Replay the first 7 if you want 18 holes. They also have Footgolf and mini golf to attract more casual users. Despite that its future isn’t assured. Newsam are going to need to be willing to do other things to have any chance of survival. They might be better off embracing the bikes instead of opposing them.

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muppetkeeper | 4 years ago
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I live next to Temple Newsam, and the Treasurer is right, there is enough room for a Golf Course and cycle trails.

However, when he talks about members of the club, there are only 112 of them according to Leeds CC proposal documents, and the course is costing £200,000 per year to maintain. Alongside that, the Pay as You Play option is only used by an average of 20 people a day, so around 25 people a day are using two golf courses, and costing the City £200,000 per year. (Actually, there are more people on the course than this, but many many people just don’t pay, they just sneak onto the course, these are also some of the people complaining)

I’m not sure that LCC are the right people to make a success of this, and fear that the £1,000,000 that they plan to borrow and the £350,000 that they already have for the project will be efficiently spent.

 

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nortonp | 4 years ago
2 likes

So build a tea room for the older people who don't play golf. ....they can watch the cyclists go by.

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muppetkeeper replied to nortonp | 4 years ago
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nortonp wrote:

So build a tea room for the older people who don't play golf. ....they can watch the cyclists go by.

There is already a bar / tearoom there, they just like to complain 

 

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srchar | 4 years ago
1 like

One of the most depressing things about nearing the age of 40 is the number of friends who now forego a weekend spin for a round of golf. Cycling is the new golf? If only.

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James Walker | 4 years ago
3 likes

Sorry but golf and golf courses are just evil. Every golf course in the world should be turned into a bike centre.

Probably guessed I don't like golf and golf course owners.

Vive le Velo.

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Pilot Pete | 4 years ago
4 likes

So the treasurer has definitely got his finger on the pulse then...

“We don't see why they need all that space for cycle lanes."

PP

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Philh68 replied to Pilot Pete | 4 years ago
2 likes
Pilot Pete wrote:

So the treasurer has definitely got his finger on the pulse then...

“We don't see why they need all that space for cycle lanes."

PP

even more galling is the admission that “a lot of our older members are past their golfing days”… I don’t see why they need all that space to not play golf!

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StuInNorway | 4 years ago
4 likes

Keep the 9 hole, reduce the fees for golfing to keep that course busy and create a shared facilities centre to let the groups actually interact...

 

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