Council bosses are going to discuss the fate of the Middleton Park course at a meeting next week, and the recommendation from officers is that the course be closed for play from 31st October and the 42 hectare site be turned into parkland.
The Middleton Park course and the Gotts Park course in Armley were earmarked for closure in budget cuts drafted in December 2012, but were later reprieved for a year to see if a way of keeping them going could be found.
Since then the council has carried out public consultations over the future of the two courses, which, it says, ran at a total loss of at least £214,000 in 2013/14.
The future of the Armley course is less certain for the moment, according to a report going to the meeting of the council executive.
The Gotts Park club have submitted plans to take over the running of the course after setting up a new community interest company. If the plans don’t prove viable, the course could be turned into a country park that would be free and open to the public, the report says.
Savings of £170,000 a year
The council says dropping its responsibility for the courses would save it £170,000 a year from 2015-16 onwards. Savings made before then would be reinvested in the new parkland and used as match funding to secure grants.
Two separate consultations were carried out with the public, one at the courses themselves, another with the general public as represented by the council’s “Citizen’s Panel”.
“Consultation undertaken at the point of play at each course demonstrated around 95% opposed to the proposal to close each course,” the report says.
“However, when broader public opinion was tested through the citizen’s panel, 87% were in favour of establishing semi-natural parkland, including around 73% of those who stated that they play golf,” it adds.