Golf course concessionaire asked to surrender lease
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The concessionaire for Portishead Golf Course has been asked by landlord North Somerset Council to surrender his lease.
The now disused golf course, which sits off Nore Road adjacent to The Windmill pub restaurant, is the subject of a formal application to give the land voluntary Town Village Green (TVG) status, following a six-year fight led by the community to protect it from development.
This would enable the area to be kept as a community space in Portishead. However, the application cannot be processed until the concessionaire, Adrian Stiff, surrenders the lease.
The request is the latest in a number of activities connected to the golf course since Mr Stiff took over the concession on a 25-year lease in 2014.
In 2018, campaigners provided evidence of routes across the land - which had been in use as footpaths since the 1940s - after Mr Stiff attempted to stop people walking across the area. North Somerset Council agreed to recognise public footpath rights across the golf course.
The concessionaire’s plans to redesign the course were also blocked in the same year when North Somerset Council refused to give landlord’s consent amid safety fears raised by campaigners.
Ann Townsend, one of the main campaigners who fought for public access to be retained, said: “After members of the community gave their time and expertise to fight the development in 2015, we have now, supported by the current Portishead Town Council, convinced North Somerset Council to listen to the community and apply for a voluntary TVG status for the land.
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“This is the only instrument to protect the land in perpetuity against unwanted development.
“After six years of struggle, we are cautiously optimistic that the unitary authority will finally deliver on their promise to protect the land once and for all.
“It has been a great community effort and one which it should justifiably be proud of.”
Chairman of Portishead Town Council, Paul Gardner, said: “In January 2020, after backing a long and successful resident-led community campaign to establish public rights of way on the golf course, Portishead Town Council made a formal request to North Somerset Council for it to apply for voluntary TVG status.
“The town council is following closely the progress of our request and we would urge Mr Stiff to surrender the lease to allow the application to be processed.”