An ambitious proposal to create 99 holiday lodges and major restructure works at Scarthingwell Golf Club have been knocked back, despite mounting financial pressures for the sport facility.
Despite submitting plans to Selby District Council at the end of last year, the golf club couldn’t convince the council’s planning committee that the addition would serve as “responsible development” during a planning meeting last Wednesday (August 18). At the meeting, councillors on the committee heard the ‘innovative’ proposals to create a large number of luxury cabins, as well as a reception building, reconfiguration of the golf course and the use of building as a golf academy and greenkeeper’s store. The application was brought to the committee, due to the land falling within the Green Belt and the fact that ten letters of objection had been lodged by nearby residents. In contrast, no objections had been received from local parish councils or statutory consultees, while members of the club had written numerous letters of support for this development throughout the public consultation.
During last Wednesday’s meeting, councillors also heard from the agent to the application, John Wyatt, who noted that Scarthingwell Golf Club couldn’t be profitable if it remained exclusively as an 18-hole golf course and didn’t expand. Mr Wyatt also praised the case officer for the application, Yvonne Naylor, who had recommended the plans for approval, subject to certain planning conditions. Addressing the committee, Mr Wyatt said: “We’ve worked closely with this council to ensure the proposals are acceptable for both parties. “The development work at Scarthingwell Golf Club would secure the long-term future of the club and be a welcome addition to the local area. “Even though the building work would fall in the Green Belt, I’m convinced that the business case and proposal would outweigh any considerations to the Green Belt, and we’ve received 45 letters of support from members and local people near the golf course. “Due to the club’s financial situation, they are running at losses and don’t make profits as an 18-hole golf course. These plans for lodges and a golf academy will strengthen tourism, leisure and bring golf to the next generation of young people.”
Along with Mr Wyatt’s representation, the committee heard from the deputy leader of Selby District Council, Cllr Richard Musgrave, who objected to the plans, due to the harm it would have on the Green Belt land and the impact on the residential amenity of neighbouring properties. After hearing from both public speakers and the report from the principal planning officer, the planning committee voted 7-1 to refuse the application - with Cllr Mark Topping being the only representative that voted in support of the plans. Refusing the application last Wednesday, deputy chair of the planning committee, Cllr John Mackman, gave a lengthy statement regarding how the application went against planning regulations. He said: “These plans, under any circumstances, should not be approved. How the planning officer can recommend it for approval is beyond me because it’s building work in the Green Belt, and it shouldn’t be given the time of day. “Anywhere else near Scarthingwell Golf Course concerning 99 properties and Green Belt land, and we wouldn’t even be having a debate. “Those houses anywhere is a huge development, so why do we think that when it comes to Scarthingwell Golf Club, it’s up for a discussion? Just because the club is struggling, we can’t bend the rules - if that was the case, every struggling business and organisation would approach us to try and get things built. We’d be setting a worrying precedent.”
Scarthingwell Golf Club. (26-08-14 SU)