Dear Richard Hicks
Nearly three years on and the fate of Deangate Ridge Golf Club and Sports Facility is very much in the minds of local people.
We are now approaching the end of the third year of the closure of the golf course and we can see the revenue deriving from the sports field and running track are diminishing despite the numbers of people actually using both. The main site is being used as a country park and the sports facility for organised and private recreational sport.
We are suspicious of Medway’s intentions toward the facility for the following primary reasons.
- Medway HIF project team are proposing to build a new spur relief road through part of the site.
- As you are aware part of the old course and the wood adjacent to the sports facility form part of the Lodge Hill SSSI for Nightingale. We believe there has also been an ecological survey undertaken which has not been released.
- The planning consent for temporary change of use is valid until 31 October 2021 for first floor of clubhouse building to office use and temporary use of former golf course car park for parking of associated office workers cars; minibuses; grounds maintenance equipment / vehicles and storage of 17 Shipping containers. No alternative sites have been announced or discussed in cabinet today.
- In 2018 The Cabinet announced it would undertake an assessment of the siting for a new sports facility. This today has not materialised.
- In 1019/20 The cabinet announce a £150,000 study to ascertain the value of the whole site.
As you are aware the Deangate community partnership are nominees of an Asset of Community Value registered by Medway Council for Deangate Ridge Golf & Sports Complex, Duxcourt Road, Hoo, Rochester the reasons for listing are registered as “The Council considered that the application and supporting evidence demonstrates that the use of Deangate Ridge Golf and Sports Complex furthers the social wellbeing and social interest of the local community current use of the remainder of the land is not an ancillary use. The evidence shows that the area plays a role in the community, providing an area for recreation. Accordingly the group has demonstrated that the land furthers the social wellbeing and social interests of the local community.”
You will also be aware that The government will create a new £150 million Community Ownership Fund to help ensure that communities across the UK can continue to benefit from the local facilities and amenities that are most important to them. From the summer, community groups will be able to bid for up to £250,000 matched funding to help them to buy local assets to run as community-owned businesses. In exceptional cases up to £1 million of matched funding will be available to help establish a community-owned sports club or buy a sports ground at risk of loss from the community. This will help ensure that important parts of the social fabric – like pubs, sports clubs, theatres and post office buildings – can continue to play a central role in towns and villages across the UK.
The Deangate Community Partnership is keen to take advantage of this fund and would welcome open discussions with you on the future for Deangate and request a virtual meeting where we can discuss the progress made so far and expand on aspirations.face
On behalf of
Deangate Community Partnership