A decades-long contract for Hollingbury golf course has been signed by councillors from the Labour and Conservative parties, despite Greens appealing for further consultation regarding the future of the site.
Labour and Conservative councillors have agreed to lease the golf course to a bidder looking for a 3 year contract, however they have now also agreed on a further 25 year lease.
Greens are critical of this decision and have raised concerns about the lack of public consultation.
Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty, Green opposition spokesperson on Policy and Resources committee, said:
“The rushed, last-minute attempt to decide the future of the Waterhall and Hollingbury golf courses has become a huge missed opportunity to engage with our communities over the sites. The lack of public consultation has left everyone – from golfers to conservation groups – without a proper say.”
The original report arrived late on Tuesday, meaning councillors and members of the community were given only a day to scrutinise proposals.
Greens submitted a proposal to grant the original three year lease, and for the ability to further scrutinise the 25 year contract. This motion has been voted down. The party also tried a ‘break clause’ route which would mean the contract would end if it fails to meet the needs of the community, however this has also been rejected.
Councillor Mac Cafferty said:
“Greens attempted to amend the proposals. We called on Labour to strengthen the lease agreement, by asking for more consultation and stronger environmental protections. We also called on the council to keep other options – such as managing the site ‘in-house’ – on the table. These safeguards are all things we assumed Labour would want too: yet our proposals were voted down by Labour and Conservative Councillors.”
He added that there are also environmental concerns with this deal:
“We must not see the city’s environment and our communities pushed to the side in Labour’s rush to sign the 25 year Hollingbury land deal. With a climate crisis upon us, we call on the Labour Council to show they are prepared to engage with the community over the future of council-owned land.”
Featured image: © Peter Whitcomb