People don’t say that cycling is the new golf anywhere near as much as they used to. That’s kind of a relief but the phrase still comes to mind upon learning that Leeds City Council are to close Temple Newsam Golf Club and instead build a cycling centre and “events space”.
Remarkably, this is not the first ‘Leeds golf course to be turned into cycling facility’ story we’ve covered here on road.cc. In 2014 plans were announced to transform Middleton Park golf course into a cycling centre with a 6.5km competition-standard mountain bike trail.
Leeds Live reports that the council is now looking to spend over £1m building a family cycling centre at Temple Newsam, including a road safety park, family cycle trails and a small BMX pump track.
Playing numbers at the golf club have reportedly 'steadily declined' over the last decade and managing the course now costs the taxpayer over £200,000 a year.
A council report states: "It makes sense to consider options for closing the golf course to reduce the cost to the council and get more people using this part of the estate for wider recreational activities.
"With regards the impact of closing the course on golfers at Temple Newsam, there are over 30 other golf courses in the Leeds metropolitan district, many of which offer pay and play and/or season tickets comparable with those available at Temple Newsam.
"Leeds City Council aims to continue providing golf at Roundhay Park, which is around 15 minutes’ drive from the Temple Newsam course."
The council will decide whether to proceed with the project at a meeting on Wednesday.
As you’d imagine, the golf club, which rents the land from the council for around £12,000 a year, is less than delighted with the proposal.
Dean Hardy, the club's treasurer, said: "Everyone is gutted. It's not just a golf club, it's also a social centre for a lot of people.
"A lot of our older members here are actually past their golfing days, but it's still a place where they can meet up with their friends on a regular basis.
"We are going to fight this and we've got around three months. Once it goes to a public consultation we will do everything we can to show the council there's no need to close the courses.”
Hardy says he doesn’t see why there couldn’t be both a golf course and a cycling centre.
“We don't see why they need all that space for cycle lanes."
He added: "We would be willing to discuss all options. I'm sure we can collaborate here and share facilities. There's got to be some way round this, so everyone can be happy."
Temple Newsam currently comprises an 18-hole course and a nine-hole course – the latter having already been shortened in a bit to attract more players.
Hardy said the club would be willing to give up another nine holes if it meant they could keep one course open.