Will Forster

Campaigning to be the Lib Dem MP for Woking, Deputy Leader of Woking Borough Council and Councillor in South Woking Learn more

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Consultation on Sutton Green Golf Club plans

by willforster on 1 September, 2021

There will be a public consultation on Thursday 16th September between 4 pm and 7 pm about proposals to build on Sutton Green Golf Club.

Earlier this summer, it was announced that the golf club had entered into an agreement with the property developer Quinn Estates to build a 15-acre retirement village and 2-acre care home on the site. The remaining undeveloped land, 75-acres, would become accessible public land.

The plans have met with almost universal disapproval from local residents and club users alike, as well as the normally pro-development Woking Borough Council.

Woking Council has already told the developer that Sutton Green Golf Club is a green belt site and as it has not been listed for development in any planning policy, any application would and should be refused permission, unless they are able to demonstrate particular and significant material circumstances to justify the proposal. This has not stopped both the club and developer trying their luck.

The fact that the proposals include a retirement village and care home is particularly odd. There is no shortage of similar facilities nearby or elsewhere in the Borough; next door is the Mayford Grange retirement home, which currently has empty flats. It also used to have a care home, but this closed due to lack of demand. The Council is in the finally stages of building a new retirement building on the old Ian Allen site in the High Street in Old Woking, and another private developer is seeking planning permission for a care home on the former Greenfields School site in Brooklyn Road.

Although this potential development does not seem likely to get planning permission, those against the plans cannot be complacent. I urge local people to attend the consultation event at the Golf Club on 16th September to have their say.

   3 Comments

3 Responses

  1. Ross Martin says:

    Dear Mr Forster, I am a member of the golf club and obviously therefore have a vested interest, but I’d like to pass a few observations about the proposal from the members perspective. Much has been made of the capacity in lots of other golf clubs for the ousted members of SGGC, but that has proven to be a lie. There is very little space anywhere within easy reach and any that do have space are charging very much more than SGGC.

    There are around 200 people who have been members there for 25+ years and its more than just a sporting club, its a social and community centre for them. Many of the players are retired midweek players in their 70s and beyond. There is very little hope for many of them that they can start again somewhere else. Many will no doubt give up, with the associated impacts on their health and cost to the borough to then look after them. At the heart of the membership from the outset has been a club that has favoured equality of all flavours and has a much higher representation of less well heeled but keen golfers than probably any other club in the area, many of our players will no doubt encounter bias at many of other clubs they might approach. For the remainder its going to mean longer journeys, more pollution and revenue diverted from and some jobs being taken away from the local community.

    I went to the consultation on 16th and it said nothing new of substance, hardly mentioned the club or the implications for the membership and rather focussed on a fabric of statistics supposedly “proving” the ecological benefit of the proposal, which were trite, largely without direct relevance and riddled with inexactitude.

    If there is any way that I or my community of friends can add to the case against this needless proposal I’d welcome your suggestions.
    Best Regards
    Ross Martin

  2. Ross Martin says:

    Hello again Mr Forster, time has passed since I last wrote about this topic. I understand that Plans HAVE been submitted to redevelop a much larger area of the golf course into Retirement facilities than was originally aired last summer.

    Separately from the objections on the plans I realize that one subject has not been mentioned in any of the public dialog around this totally unnecessary proposal.

    That is the fact that since the opening of the golf club in 1994 (NOT, as the plan submission study suggests – 1999), the membership of the club have in every single year selected a local charity to support and sponsor. Over the years the totals have varied from a few thousand pounds to tens of thousands but every year money has been raised. Many local charities have benefitted from all that fundraising and even this year we are raising money for Woking Hospice and a local dementia carers support trust. Many other clubs and groups raise money for local charities, but more money is always needed and if we are closed that will be one lifeline of funding for the local good that will also cease.
    Best Regards
    Ross Martin

    • willforster says:

      Hello Ross, you make a good point about the positive contribution that the Golf Club has made over the years.

      I think the Council will be in a strong position to reject this application, as it is in the Green Belt and it has not been allocated for development.

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