Let’s do a deal – says High Common campaigner

Let’s go fifty-fifty on the future of the High Common says Theresa Franklin – a leading voice for the group of people campaigning to ensure that re-opening two mothballed golf courses isn’t the best way of using what they consider to be the ‘People’s Park.’ on the slopes of Lansdown.

Council leader Kevin Guy has said he is committed to keeping a golf course at the Approach site – subject to a viable operator being identified. It’s an important leisure facility he wants to see restored and golf has been played there for over sixty years.

Theresa and her fellow campaigners say weed-killing pesticides – used on the greens in the past – kill insect life as well and bringing back golf will not mean free and unrestricted use for all members of the public.

They suggest a smaller area for golf and a bigger public space for wildlife and people.

Cllr Guy said the Approach Golf site was ‘ an iconic feature of Bath’s recreational scene’ but did Theresa agree?


  1. I’m with Theresa re end of chemicals but would prefer a no golf space. A wild space above Victoria Park would be wonderful. I have been going there since Covid with my big dog and it is always a less relaxing walk when there are golfers swinging their clubs. See the wonderful transformation of Beckenham Place Park in SE London from golf course to a green space for all including wildlife .

  2. I think B&NES has already gone a fair way (pardon the pun) on turning over golf course land to less agri-intensive use at Entry Hill. Pitch and putt golf on the High Common was a great, and almost quirky surprise to me when I arrived in Bath six years ago. When I tried it, as a very lapsed golfer, I was delighted by the courses and the changing views from hole to hole. It’s almost trite to say that it is a unique experience playing a countryside sport so close to the centre of such a remarkable city. I’d be interested to hear from any other past paying customers who did not think likewise.
    The accessibility of the course is also good for the game of golf – pitch and putt can be played by almost anyone of any age, whether they have golf experience or not. To my knowledge the nearest P&P must be Ashton Court in Bristol. It’s slightly odd to me that non-golfers are suggesting that it is all about walking in the fresh air and why customers of the golf course don’t do that elsewhere. The image of a private members club may well seem highly elitist however the Approach course can provide fun for anyone, locals and visitors alike.
    With some previous experience, I’m slightly sceptical of the notion of wild flower meadows inside posh cities, in gardens and bigger spaces. They look good and do good for a bit but can only be appreciated at their periphery and then require mechanised cutting and loading of the arisings and look the worse for wear for much of the year. I suppose at the High Common, ‘the rough’ could be allowed to grow and provide pleasure for botanists and entomologists and other enthusiasts.
    Finally this is only a 9 hectare site with a previous sporting purpose, a little larger than its neighbour Victoria Park. No one is suggesting repurposing the successful playground by turning it over to meadow, the skate park likewise or making the botanic garden or the park itself into a giant meadow. So why seek to change the approach golf course just because the procurement exercise for a provider to run it was unsuccessful?
    It may well be that there is better way to run the P&P which keeps the ecosystem happier.

  3. It’s a shame that Kevin Guy seems to ride roughshod over other councillor’s promises. Paul Crossley committed the council to a public consultation as to what should or should not happen on the High Common. It’s also clear that the covenants on the High Common require any profits made from any activity on the High Common needs to be returned to the council.

    The council has repeatedly failed (think this is the third time of trying) to get a golf operator interested in the High Common getting to the point where Golf Frisbee was the only way they could achieve it.

    Unlike the Entry Hill, this isn’t an ex-dump, so there are much more interesting things that can be done here and the public should be asked, not, as Kevin and the rest of the Lansdown ward councillors are doing, ignored because of a petition set up by a man in Chippenham that was the only way locals could object to golf frisbee being dumped on the High Common.

    As Roger highlighted, there are other cities that are being much more inventive with these phenomenal public spaces. https://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/news/derby-news/plan-derby-park-ex-golf-6147080

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