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Hoo's Deangate Ridge Golf Course's proposed closure will see protests outside council building

By Matt Whale

About 150 protesters gathered outside Medway Council's offices ahead of a meeting to discuss the closure of Hoo's Deangate Ridge Golf Course.

The cabinet is expected to approve the move which will see the sports venue close on March 31.

However, an online petition to save the Duxcourt Road course has received nearly 3,000 signatures.

Protesters gathered outside Gun Wharf ahead of the council meeting
Protesters gathered outside Gun Wharf ahead of the council meeting

A council report suggests Deangate be closed on the basis of ongoing financial instability.

The course is operated in-house by the council's sport, leisure, tourism and heritage service.

Its grounds maintenance and course preparation are undertaken by Medway Norse, a joint venture between Medway Council and Norse Commercial Services.

Rochester and Strood MP Kelly Tolhurst echoed residents’ feelings that the decision shouldn’t be made before the Medway Local Plan, for which feedback is still being assessed, is completed.

She said: “I am appalled the council are putting forward this proposal without any consultation with our community and having not been clear about their intentions for the future of Deangate.

A protester outside Gun Wharf ahead of the council meeting about Deangate Ridge Golf Course
A protester outside Gun Wharf ahead of the council meeting about Deangate Ridge Golf Course

“This is a publicly-owned open space which was gifted to the community and so to make a decision like this when a Local Plan and a vision for the peninsula has yet to be produced is inexcusable.

“Cllr Phil Filmer and I have written to the cabinet who are due to make a decision on Tuesday to urge them to defer any decision on Deangate until a consultation has been carried out and a realistic Local Plan is in place.

“I am totally against this and will fight any decision to sell off this valuable community asset.” - Kelly Tolhurst

“I am totally against this and will fight any decision to sell off this valuable community asset.”

Cllr Filmer, whose ward is the Peninsula, said: "All we are asking is that decisions as important as this are based on good democratic processes and full and accurate information.”

“It seems only right and proper course that the golf course should remain open until this happens."

Cllr Phil Filmer
Cllr Phil Filmer

Chairman of the High Halstow Parish Council, George Crozer, who has taken part in the protest, said: "In six weeks, Medway Council will release their draft Local Plan, which will set out for the first time exactly what its long-term plans are.

"Surely the fate of one of its largest public assets should be considered as part of that?

"We also think it is only right that cabinet only makes its decision once it has the full facts rather than based on the misleading and inaccurate report it has been given."

Concerns were raised after landscaping vehicles were use to destroy the natural woodland surrounding the course last month.

The work, called seasonal maintenance, called some to suggest that the work was paving way for planning application on the site.

It was later revealed that Medway Council were promoting the site as a housing allocation within the Medway Local Plan.

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