Calls to 'permanently protect' Portishead's former golf course from threat of developers

PUBLISHED: 07:58 02 August 2019 | UPDATED: 07:59 02 August 2019

Ann Townsend, Janet Davey and supporters  with the new signs installed by North Somerset Council.     

Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Ann Townsend, Janet Davey and supporters with the new signs installed by North Somerset Council. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Archant

Councillors have been urged to protect 'important' Portishead green space from the threat of developers.

Calls to safeguard the future of the town's former golf course by giving it a protected status were made at Portishead Town Council's July meeting.

Ann Townsend, who has long campaigned for the land to be safeguarded, called on councillors to apply for town green status, which would provide 'permanent protection'.

Mrs Townsend said: "The importance of this land to our community is well documented. There needs to be a plan in place to remove any vulnerability.

"The recent acquisition of formal footpaths has allayed some fears, however there are many significant concerns regarding unwanted development of the land.

"I believe we must do all we can via legislation to protect the land."

The golf course, in Nore Road, was leased by North Somerset Council to Adrian Stiff, who operated the course and had plans to redesign its layout.

But after securing planning permission, North Somerset then refused landlords consent - prompting Mr Stiff to walk away from the project.

After years of wrangling, footpaths across the course were adopted in 2018 - boosting campaigners' hopes the land will not fall into the hands of housing developers.

The golf course is designated as local green space, but Mrs Townsend believes the status does not provide adequate protection - and with Mr Stiff's planning permission due to expire in 2020 she called for town green status to be granted.

She said: "With local green spaces, new development of the land is ruled out except in special circumstances.

"I worry when I see this kind of statement written into legislation because there is no definition of what the special circumstances could be. It is a subjective status.

"With town green status, it gives permanent protection and ensures local people have the right to use the land for recreation. Nothing can be done which intervenes with the public use of the land. It is for the better use of the green."

Town council chairman Paul Gardner, who also sits on North Somerset Council, agreed to explore the possibility of securing town green status.

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