South East: London’s last public course to close

Heritage Lottery grant spells end for Beckenham Place Park.

Inner London’s only public golf course is to close after Lewisham Council was granted almost £5 million to redevelop Beckenham Place Park.

The award of £4.9 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Big Lottery Fund will be used to restore the park to its 18th Century roots, but the scheme includes plans to remove the existing golf course.

David Hansom, 66, is secretary of Braeside Golf CLub, which shares the park. Speaking to the East London Lines he said: “This landscape was designed for the easy lifestyle of the rich. The only time the park has enjoyed any public access has been since the laying out of the golf course. This is the historic public landscape of the park.”
‘The course is the historic public landscape of the park’ Campaigners from the ‘Save the Beckenham 18’ campaign have claimed the Heritage Lottery Fund were not informed that only 175 people were surveyed to gain figures used to prove public support for the application.

However, Lewisham Council estimated that 300 people were spoken to throughout the initial consultation process and claimed that 80 per cent of the community believed there would be greater “public enjoyment” of the park if it were “not so dominated by golf”.

The course was laid out in 1907, with Lewisham Council assuming responsibility for it in 1971.

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