Landowners Hopes of Developing Disused Golf Course Boosted

Land which is listed as having community value under the Localism Act 2011 enjoys some important protections against development. However, one case involving a disused golf course has underlined that such a listing will only be justified where there is a realistic chance of such land in fact being returned to community use.

The course was closed to paying customers in 2013 and had since become so overgrown as to be almost indistinguishable from the surrounding country park. It was viewed as a prime target for residential development but was listed as an asset of community value by the local authority in 2015. That status gave a local campaign group the opportunity to delay any sale of the property for up to six months so that it could put forward proposals to retain it for community use.

In upholding a challenge to the listing brought by the land’s owner, the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) found it unlikely that the land could be returned to use as a golf course within a five-year period. There was no evidence that the council had turned its mind to the challenging financial conditions endured by golf clubs in general. The FTT also noted that the course’s club house was facing demolition, having only had temporary planning permission, and that that was likely to impact on player numbers and business viability were it to reopen.