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Canterbury Golf Club reveals plans to build housing estate on land to fund new £3m clubhouse

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A new housing estate could be built on land at Canterbury Golf Club as bosses look to raise more than £3 million.

Up to 14 acres at the site off Littlebourne Road, Canterbury, has been put forward by club chiefs in the hope it can be earmarked by the council for more than 100 homes.

The local authority is currently considering a number of sites for inclusion in its new Local Plan, which sets out where major housing developments should be built across the district.

If the golf course land is included, it will likely be sold to a developer, with the money generated funding the construction of a new clubhouse.

Director Robin Whiting said: "We are just putting our toe in the water at this stage to see what's possible."

The golf course was bought by the club from the Ministry of Defence in 2014 and now covers almost 200 acres.

It proposed to develop a plot which includes the existing driving range and golf academy.

Canterbury Golf Club director Robin Whiting
Canterbury Golf Club director Robin Whiting

Mr Whiting says the majority of club members are "broadly supportive" of the idea, which could raise upwards of £3m to build the new clubhouse.

"The current pre-war building is quite dated and a new one would have the potential to bring in more revenue, and be available to non-members to hire for things like functions," he said.

"Buy that's not the sort of money we have to hand because we are a members' club, and everything we earn is put back into the course – like the £100,000 we've recently had to spend on drainage.

"Obviously it's very early days, but there would have to be some reconfiguration of the course and re-siting of the driving range. But we are not at the stage of talking to any developers or anything like that."

The land could yield more than 100 homes but Mr Whiting says the club would not support any kind of development that would harm the golf course.

The area including the driving range and golf academy which could be developed
The area including the driving range and golf academy which could be developed

Bosses say they have worked hard to preserve the biodiversity of the land and have a detailed plan to protect and enhance it.

But they argue the driving range and surrounding area is 'brownfield' land, not covered by the Site of Special Scientific Interest designation which applies to much of the surroundings.

Any reconfiguration of the course could include relocating the 18th hole and finding a new location for the driving range.

The club submitted its proposal in March and is still waiting to hear the outcome.

It may not be the only development on the land, as the club faces the prospect of a new city bypass cutting through the course.

The bypass could cut through the golf course
The bypass could cut through the golf course

Initial drawings of a preferred route appear to show the controversial road running across golf club land, linking Sturry with the A2 at Bridge.

"The first we heard of it was when we saw the map, so it came as quite a shock," said Mr Whiting.

"As it looks on the drawing, the road comes right down our 18th fairway.

"I would hope that as we would be affected if this goes ahead, that the council would at least be talking to us about it.

"I'm not saying it's not possible, because there is land at the periphery of the site which could accommodate a road, but we would hope to be consulted as it could also affect our own ideas."

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