Deangate Ridge closure confirmed
Deangate Ridge closure confirmed

Medway Council’s Cabinet has approved a recommendation to permanently close Deangate Ridge golf course following its long-term financial loss.

Cabinet met on Tuesday, 6 February and discussed the long-term financial viability of maintaining the course together with a proposal to start explorations for a new, modern sports complex to be built on the peninsula. Despite efforts in recent years to reduce costs, the low membership base meant that Deangate Ridge sports complex made a total loss of more than £202,000 in 2016/17. Over the last seven years the complex has made a loss of more than £1.5million, with an annual average loss of £223,000.

The past decade has seen a significant decline nationally in the numbers playing golf and Deangate Ridge, with a small membership of 282 members, has suffered from this trend. There is no realistic expectation that the annual loss would cease and this position is not sustainable at a time when the council faces continuing significant demands on its budget.

Cabinet agreed that the golf course is no longer financially sustainable and agreed to permanently close it.

Cllr Howard Doe, Portfolio Holder for Community Services at Medway Council, said: “Medway Council has owned the golf course for more than 40 years and so we did not take this decision lightly. However, it’s just not financially viable to keep the golf course open, especially due to continued financial pressures on council finances. It was costing tax payers thousands of pounds each year and this could be better spent on benefitting the most vulnerable people in our communities.”

It is anticipated that Deangate Ridge golf course will be closed on 31 March 2018. At this stage no decision has been made about the potential use of the site and during this time the grounds will be maintained and secured.

Deangate Ridge sports complex also has an athletics track, bowls centre, football pitches and tennis courts, and these facilities will continue to remain open.

Cllr Doe continued: “This decision is by no means a reflection on the golf course’s staff. From experience they have always been professional and extremely passionate about the service they offer to the golfing community. Every effort will be made to immediately support the staff affected and try to find alternative, suitable positions within the council.

“I’d also like to thank the long-standing members of the golf club who have continued to support Deangate Ridge and I am pleased there are a number of private golf clubs in the area for them to continue playing the sport.”

Cabinet also approved a second recommendation – to start work on a public consultation on a proposal to develop a new sports centre in the Hoo peninsula.

Cllr Doe added: “We recognise the importance of providing facilities that matter most to residents. Nearly 11,000 people across Medway are a member of one of the council’s four sports centres, and I am pleased there is the possibility of developing a new state-of-the-art sports centre for residents living in and around Hoo. More information will be available later this year, when residents will have the opportunity to let the council know what sports facilities they would like in the peninsula.”