Golf club facing uncertain future

BELFAST City Council is considering levelling a Newtownabbey golf course to make way for new sports pitches, it has been confirmed.

The future of the popular City of Belfast Golf Club in Mallusk will be discussed next week at a behind-closed-doors meeting of the council's Parks and Leisure Committee.

Responding to a series of questions from the Times this week, a council spokesperson confirmed that there is a shortage of playing field provision in the Greater Belfast area, and that a "superficial survey" has been carried out which indicates the golf course land "would be suitable for playing fields".

That could give the council the option of levelling the golf course and extending the existing City of Belfast Playing Fields site at Park Road. However, the cost of such a scheme to lay new pitches suitable for football, GAA and other sports could run to several million pounds.

A spokesperson for the council, which is currently carrying out a consultation exercise in relation to sporting provision in its area, commented: "The council will be considering the future of the golf course at a special meeting of the Parks and Leisure Committee on January 24; one option would be to consider alternative uses which might include the provision of additional pitches."

It is understood the club, which already manages the course under an agreement with the local authority, has asked the council to approve a 15-year lease on the land so that it can go ahead with plans to build a new clubhouse and develop the community facility.

Club President Peter Long said members and officials are anxiously awaiting the outcome of next week's meeting.

Read the full story in this week's Times...