Plans to import inert materials to reprofile Cuckfield Golf Centre are ‘not landfill’, according to the team behind the scheme.
Owner Robert Dickman described how the project, which will include a new par three course, is needed for his business to ‘remain financially viable in the modern world’.
The golf course would be remodelled using around 550,000 tonnes of materials alongside improvements to drainage, safety, and accessibility.
However concerns have been raised by residents about the number of lorry movements, road safety especially for children, the landscape impact on the High Weald Area of Outstanding Beauty, and the proposed materials due to be imported.
These were voiced during a meeting at Cuckfield Village Hall hosted by both Cuckfield and Ansty & Staplefield parish councils last Monday (November 20).
Mr Dickman said: “We hope you will see what a special project we want to undertake for the community.”
But one angry resident told him: “You are ruining our community, you are putting lorries through here, you are ruining the AONB, you are putting our children at risk.
“You are messing things up and you are talking about golfers like they are some exquisite rare breed.
“We do not care, we care about our children.”
Planning permission would be required from West Sussex County Council before any materials could be imported.
Several residents asked who would benefit financially from the proposals, while a repeated concern revolved around what materials would be used in the site.
Mr Dickman said that no money would be going into his bank account, adding: “I’m not gaining anything at all. I’m gaining a fantastic golf course, that’s all I want.”
Agent from the scheme Paul Taylor, from PT-CE Limited, explained that these were not landfill proposals as any material would not be waste or biodegradable.
Any materials would be carefully sourced so they did not contain any contaminates either.
Aggregates company London Rock has been engaged to find the imported materials, which would likely be from construction projects elsewhere in the country.
Mr Taylor said: “There is a financial gain that is needed in order to construct the golf course.
“It is a fabulously expensive exercise and it has to be paid for.”
Mr Dickman added: “It’s not dumping waste by the side of a car park and running away, it’s creating an amazing golf course and that’s a very very expensive project.”
The works would likely take place over two years during the summer months, during which the clubhouse would remain open, but the course would be closed.
Matt Warwick, from amateur governing body England Golf, praised Cuckfield Golf Centre’s commitment to increasing women’s participation in the sport and described the proposals as ‘on trend’ with what other courses were doing to improve viability.
Meanwhile Bruce Weller, the project’s golf course architect, explained that they were aiming to create a more approachable course to a larger audience.
The works would look to address drainage problems, steep maintenance areas, as well as creating a layout of holes that had a clockwise direction, and improving accessibility for players using buggies.
The other main concern was road safety and the impact of the lorries driving to and from the A23 every day will have on properties along Staplefield Road and Sloughgreen Lane.
One resident said: “What we fail to understand is why to support one man’s business we should inflict 130 lorries a day from the A23.”
Another added: “I think it’s totally unacceptable and will ruin our beautiful landscape.”
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