Set out below is a copy of a letter I have sent to the Press in respect of the Leeds City Council Municipal Golf Courses:
REPRIEVE FOR LEEDS GOLF COURSES
I was pleased to read that the Council has reconsidered its plans to close two Leeds golf courses, (YEP, January 15, “Leeds Golf Courses get reprieve for year”).
When plans to close Middleton Park and Gotts Park Municipal Courses came before the Council’s Executive Board in December, as part of wider budget proposals for 2013/14, I voiced my unease.
Whilst everyone recognises that the taxpayers of Leeds cannot continue to subsidise these courses at current levels, in my view, the decision to close was a “knee jerk reaction”, without any thought being given to how usage might be increased, or whether use of the facilities could be widened to include other community based projects.
Council officers argued that users could access private facilities nearby, at similar cost. My own research suggests that they could end up paying double if the municipal facilities were lost to them.
So I am pleased that the Council has thought again and offered a last minute reprieve, albeit only for one year. It is now up to the residents of Leeds to show their backing for these valuable amenities, through increased patronage.