Golf club members hail agreement with HS2 to create replacement facilities when rail line cuts through course

Plans to remodel a 130-year-old Lichfield golf course have been approved.

Whittington Heath Golf Club

Whittington Heath Golf Club. Pic: Google

Whittington Heath Golf Club faced closure due to the routing of HS2 straight through the middle of the site.

The high speed line will eliminate five holes as well as the 18th Century clubhouse.

But a successful planning application will see the creation of new elements of the course and the construction of a replacement clubhouse.

Club captain Pete Espin revealed the announcement had come after more than five years of discussions with HS2.

“After consultation with members about the course of action we should take, we made a conscious decision to work with HS2 and preserve 130 years of golf and a much longer history for the overall site,” he said.

An artist's impression of the new clubhouse at Whittington Heath Golf Club

An artist’s impression of the new clubhouse at Whittington Heath Golf Club

“We could simply have accepted the HS2 route as a signal for the course’s closure but we’ve worked closely with them and we’re delighted with the outcome under the circumstances.”

Kelvin Edwards led the initial discussions over the impact of the line and said that he believed the effort to create a workable solution was worthwhile.

“Throughout the process, we liaised with local action groups, councils and national government officials to collaborate positively with HS2,” he explained. “In accepting the intended path of the railway, we’ve been able to reach a solution for both the club and HS2 which preserves the future and also secures environmental benefits for the local community.

“It’s been a difficult journey but one we feel has been entirely worthwhile.”

It’s not just the golf facilities which will be replaced. Members have also worked with HS2 to create new environmental areas.

Committee member Keith Ridgway said: “The basis of ‘equivalent re-instatement’ means the level of our current facilities will be maintained on a new-for-old basis, but we’re still losing an historic building as well mature heathland as a consequence. So the ecological element has been an important factor in the plans.

“While the new golf holes will be constructed to replicate the traditional heathland environment, there’ll also be around 10 hectares of heather and acid grass land, four eco ponds, additional hedgerow and woodland along with public access.

“The status of the ecological land is preserved by a binding agreement and the golf club is responsible for maintaining it as such on behalf of HS2.”

Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

2 Comments

  1. David

    23rd September, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    This is all well and good but one of the relaxing aspects of golf is the relative peace and quiet on the course. How peaceful will it be with trains roaring past at 250mph 6 times an hour?

  2. John Griffin

    27th September, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    Would a golf course without the intimate connections with Lichfield Conservative Party have been afforded this financial and material assistance? I assume the ‘No HS2’ signs will suddenly diappear.

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