So what now for Approach course?

It’s no surprise to hear the Council has decided NOT to appoint a new operator for the Approach golf course in Bath.

Lansdown Councillors Lucy Hodge and Mark Elliott were amongst many campaigners who have welcomed the move.

This follows objections they and many residents raised to the suggestion of an operator providing ‘golf derived activity’ rather than traditional golf.

B&NES Cabinet was required to formally conclude a six-months-long open procurement process and was presented with two options: either to appoint the one organisation to have submitted a bid or to choose not to proceed.

Meeting in virtual session, with a live broadcast to YouTube, Cabinet members heard from both local Councillors and 11 public speakers before voting unanimously not to proceed with awarding the contract.

In a joint statement, Lansdown Councillors Lucy Hodge and Mark Elliott said:

“This is the right decision for Approach golf course and Bath as a whole. Over the last week we have been in touch with hundreds of local residents who were concerned about the proposal under consideration. It’s clear that it is a special place to so many.

“Cabinet papers showed that the only bid on the table was for a ‘golf derived activity’. We could see a clear consensus view, which we share, that such an activity would not be acceptable to residents as a future use of the site. It’s a shame that no traditional golf operator has come forwards.

“We are relieved and pleased at today’s decision and welcome Cabinet members’ willingness to listen to residents. It’s quite understandable that the procurement had to run its course and that a formal decision needed to be taken.

“The key question now will be what happens to Approach golf course in the future. As ward councillors we feel strongly that we should take great care of this unique asset in the World Heritage setting where golfers, dog-owners, walkers, tobogganers and visitors of all ages enjoy exercise and happily coexist.

“In our view, there should be a lower-cost maintenance option for the time being. We will continue to listen to and advocate for residents.”

Note: the resolution proposed and approved unanimously by Cabinet was:

2.1 That whilst this bid is proceedable, the Cabinet are not satisfied that there are sufficient benefits to commit to a long term solution and will not be appointing Company A. 2.2 That the High Common is retained as public open space which should increase the range of informal uses on the sit