Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Of course.

Colin Wiles on top form at Inside Housing:
I did some more digging and discovered that there are around 2,000 18-hole golf courses in England as well as hundreds of smaller 9-hole and pitch and putt courses, and at least 600 golf driving ranges.
Each 18 hole course requires up to 90 hectares of land (including practice courses, clubhouses, car-parking etc) so my best estimate is that golfing establishments take up around 270,000 hectares in England – that's 2 percent of England's total land area of 13.4 million hectares.
Accurate figures are hard to come by, so if anyone can contradict my figures I would be pleased to amend them.
But by my reckoning English golf courses use an amount of land that is equivalent to one fifth of England's total built up area (10 percent of England is built upon) and could provide at least 8 million homes...
But it's also worth bearing in mind that golf courses drink huge amounts of water, are not particularly brimming with wildlife and are generally closed to public access.
Yet many countryside campaigners argue that we should not touch any greenfield land whatsoever, either because of its wildlife and amenity value or because we need every scrap of land to provide for our present and future food needs, or both.
Well in the case of horses and golf the food argument is spurious, and in the case of golf the wildlife and amenity argument is tenuous, at best. Some golf courses spoil the landscapes they occupy.
At the risk of boring the readers of this blog I repeat: There is no shortage of land in this country.


Bayard said...

"There is no shortage of land in this country."

Of course there isn't, it's just that most of it isn't where anyone wants to live, and that goes for an awful lot of the golf courses. You could just as easily make the same point about the number of houses you could build on the grouse moors of this country and it would only be slightly more absurd.
I think if he did a bit more digging he would find that his "countryside campaigners" are just as much against farmland being converted to golf courses as they are against being used for housing.

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, the important bits are second and third paragraphs from the end - the "food security" and "wildlife" arguments are irrelevant, if we were that desperate for food there would be no golf courses and no horse paddocks.

He said quite clearly he is not recommending building on golf courses, he is much to smart for that.

A K Haart said...

Blimey I didn't know that, although being a regular walker I've often wondered how much land they take up because they seem to be everywhere.

Bayard said...

"the important bits are second and third paragraphs from the end"

It might have been worth quoting them in full! I've read the article now and your selection does give a different viewpoint from the one he is making, hence my comments above. To my mind the most important paragraph is the judge's comment about demand not equalling need. There is a huge demand for new housing in the country, especially in the south east, but much of that demand is due to both developers (rightly) and would-be homeowners (wrongly) seeing the chance of making huge unearned profits from it. Much of the remaining demand is from people who only need somewhere else to live because they can't afford what's on offer at the moment. None of that equates to need for new housing.