‘Absolutely no plans’ for development at Rookwood golf course
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Massively unpopular plans to allocate the site for up to 1,100 homes in the district council’s Local Plan were dropped in July 2021.
But uncertainty has remained among some residents – a situation which has not been helped by the failure to hold a promised consultation into possible leisure and nature-based improvements to the site.
The issue was raised during the first of three ‘Big Conversation’ public meetings, which was held at the district council office on Wednesday (May 4).
Roger Noel, cabinet member for leisure & culture, said he was ‘keen to dispel any conspiracy theories’.
He added: “The council has no plans to consider Rookwood Golf Course for development – and I mean that – no plans to develop Rookwood Golf Course.
“I also want to reconfirm that the golf club is not included for consideration in the Local Plan – and that is absolute.
“The council has a new leader, a new team, and we all recognise the importance and value of Rookwood and the Warnham Local Nature Reserve.”
The site is owned by the council and is leased to the golf club.
That lease ends in 2026 and Mr Noel told the meeting that the council had ‘absolutely no intention of triggering any break clause prior to the end of that lease’.
In response to a question from the public he added that the council would consider offering a long-term lease of the golf course to an operator, if any were interested in taking it over.
As for the consultation, he assured residents that it would be held, probably in the summer of 2023.
But first, he announced that a review of the importance of golf to the area would be carried out by officers ‘as soon as possible’.
He added: “I don’t feel that a consultation on the future of Rookwood can meaningfully take place until we investigate the role of golf in our society, in our community and in Horsham District.
“Golf is a very important sport – many of us have taken it up during the pandemic – and we just don’t know what importance golf is going to have now and in the future.
“We’ve really got to look at that.”