Friday, 12 February 2016

Crawley Council Meeting To Debate Golf Course Tree Felling

Councillors Carol Eade, Duncan Crow & Francis Guidera at Tilgate Golf Course
This evening I have issued a press release (below) about Tilgate Golf Course and the Motion I have tabled at Crawley Borough Council. I love walking on the golf course and even have a scenic photo I took there as the background on my phone. I stress that this course of action is not about criticising anyone or playing political games - it is about trying to achieve the best possible outcome all round as quickly as possible.

Concerns over the amount of tree felling and the way the work is being undertaken at Tilgate Golf Course, has led to the two councillors for Furnace Green tabling a notice of motion for the Full Council meeting of Crawley Borough Council being held at Crawley Town Hall on Wednesday 24th February at 7.30pm.
The motion, tabled by Conservative councillors Duncan Crow and Carol Eade calls for greater Council oversight of the woodland management plan and for the Council’s Cabinet Member responsible to seek sound assurances that the second phase of the works will be carried out in a “much more sympathetic way to the natural environment than the first phase”.
Cllr Duncan Crow said “What matters now is the Council getting a grip of the situation as soon as possible. That is why I have taken the unusual step of informing the Cabinet Member for Wellbeing of the motion long before the meeting takes place, because we want to work with him before the Full Council meeting to address the concerns being raised. I have proposed the motion as a driver for action and as an ‘insurance policy’ should enough progress not be made before the meeting.”
Cllr Carol Eade added “While we understand the need for the management of the woodland, residents tell us it is the way it is being carried out and the sheer scale of the felling that is upsetting. We were shocked when we visited the golf course and saw it for ourselves.”
Supporting the motion is Tilgate Councillor Francis Guidera who said “The golf course is in Furnace Green but it is popular with walkers from both Tilgate and Maidenbower too. We must protect the mature trees, trees that help to make the golf course the visually stunning place that it is.”
The Notice of Motion reads:
Tilgate Golf Course is a premier golf course and, as a popular leisure facility in Crawley, is a great asset for the town. Due to its woodland and heathland habitat, the golf course is also an important habitat for wildlife and is a popular area for walking on its footpaths and public rights of way.
On the 8th of February 2016, local councillors from Furnace Green and Tilgate visited the golf course for the first time in 2016 and were shocked at the sheer volume of tree felling. This has left behind an unsightly mess and has damaged footpaths and public rights of ways. This has taken place under the woodland management plan of the golf course operator.

Local councillors welcome that the operator has agreed to a site visit with a group of local residents who regularly walk on the paths through the golf course, to identify any areas of concern for the second phase of the work in the southern half of the golf course and any remedial work needed to reinstate access to existing damaged areas, but feel that as the landowner, Crawley Borough Council should have a greater oversight of the work and its impact.

Therefore, the Council instructs the Cabinet Member for Wellbeing to meet with the golf course operator with a view to;

1.     Seeking sound assurances that the second phase of the woodland management plan is implemented in a much more sympathetic way to the natural environment than the first phase.
2.     Ensuring that the damaged footpaths are returned to a usable condition as soon as is reasonably possible and the adjacent areas cleared, 10 metres either side; of any hazards, such as damaged overhanging branches and sharp broken stumps, as these pose a significant health and safety risk to users and their animals.

3.     Identifying and protecting healthy mature trees from being felled in locations that do not have a detrimental effect on the playing of golf or do not have any negative impact on the management of the woodland.
The Council further requests that the Cabinet Member for Wellbeing maintains a dialogue with the golf course operator throughout the duration of the works and keeps members updated, as appropriate, with the implementation of the woodland management plan.


sapsap69 said...

I support your motion in this matter above and hope all parties can work together to make sure there is no re occurrence.

Anonymous said...

Yet another waste of taxpayers money, surely we should be focusing on the points of view of experienced woodland management specialists rather than the laymen’s views of a handful of walkers and local councillors’ looking to leverage a few more votes.

The work in the woodland is among one of the best examples of sustainable management you are likely to see and must have been carried out by ‘experienced’ contractors, no doubt the benefit will be clear to see in the coming months and years.

I personally think it's disgusting that the focus seems to be on muddy paths rather than the obvious benefits to the wildlife and overall environment of the woodland – Are we not willing to clean our boots after a walk to see our beloved woodland looked after for generations to come?

beloved woodland looked as they have been long overdue and where totally neglected by the council for years.

I look forward to seeing how the councillors believe they can ‘improve’ what is already a great project.

Duncan Crow said...

There is no cost to having this debated at the Full Council meeting so it is not a "waste of taxpayers money". My role is to represent the concerns of residents and concerns about how the woodland management is being carried out have been raised. I do agree it will look better than now by the summer but it is looking absolutely terrible now and questions have been raised about the scale of the felling with seemingly healthy mature trees that have no detrimental effect for the golf course being felled, as well as the more scrubby-type trees which you can understand being removed.

The motion is measured and reasonable. I am not attacking anyone and I want the golf course to be successful. Nobody is saying don't do any more work. It is about the Council having a greater oversight and being able to be accountable for what is going on. We are not there yet but I want us to be.

NOBBYD said...

Who is Anonymous?

Their comments sound just like the excuses, lies, blame free, cost neutral tosh that the golf club tried to fob us off with at the forum meeting. In fact "anonymous" are you they in disguise? At least have the balls to say who you are so you can back up your ill-informed, moronic comments!

petina said...

Anonymous is wrong, hope your meting goes well

Duncan Crow said...

As well as last week's Tilgate Forum meeting not being happy with what has been happening, tonight's meeting of the Forestfield and Shrublands Conservation Committee in Furnace Green also expressed unhappiness.

I have today received a positive response from the Council's Cabinet Member for Wellbeing. I am optimistic we can make progress.

Nick F said...

Nick F said

What is being done to repair the paths on and around the golf course that were badly damaged by the heavy lorries moving timber and going from place to place?.

I heard that a digger had been hired for a few weeks to repair the damage.

I walk through Tilgate daily and so far see very little sign of any long term repairs. For example the path that runs through the 1st and 2nd fairways and up to the 6th tee, is badly damaged. Somebody has seen fit to use "Wood Chip" to fill in holes, hardly a long term option.

We need several tons of hard core to fill in the holes. Drainage is also required, run off areas need to be made at the side of paths so water can run away to a ditch.

If the only solution is the cheap fix being implemented at present the paths will in due course be impassable. However maybe that's what the golf club wants!.

The path running across the 9th hole and down to the lake is a disgrace massive ruts which are full of ankle deep mud make access all but impossible. I could go on but ......hopefully the golf club management will see sense and conduct a programme that will ensure a regular repairs are undertaken to keep the paths in acceptable condition.

If anybody can be bothered, have a look at the forest roads over the motorway. These were repaired after forestry operations last year. A fine example of what to do after heavy lorries have damaged the surface.