Fury over council's proposals to shut down Stockwood Park Golf Centre
Proposals to shut down Stockwood Park Golf Centre have ignited fury from club members and the public.
Luton Borough Council has launched a public survey over its plans, which have already been widely criticised on social media.
Paul Hulme, golf club captain at Stockwood Park, told the Luton News: "I am disgusted that during a pandemic, when golf participation is on the rise and we need green space more than ever, the council is considering closing such a valuable asset to the people of Luton.
"Stockwood Park Golf Centre has over 250 members, and attracts business from many golfing groups and casual players from a wide area.
"If the course is closed, the council is reinforcing the prejudice that golf is a game reserved for old, rich, white men. Golf is a sport for life and should not be reserved for the elite.
"Stockwood Park provides a public golf course accessible to all ages and backgrounds, where tens of thousands have taken up the sport over the last 50 years."
According to the council, the savings are being considered due the financial implications of Covid-19.
Luton Borough Council stated: "The council is drawing up potential savings due to a significant shortfall in its budget due to a collapse in passenger numbers at London Luton Airport Limited, which is a major source of income for the council and revenue support for Active Luton.
"As a direct result of the impact of the coronavirus shutdown, the council is focused particularly on the future operation of the Golf Centre at Stockwood Park. This includes the 18 hole course, the nine hole course and the clubhouse building."
An online petition (see here) to save the golf centre was launched yesterday, and has already attracted over 2,000 signatures.
Petition organiser Sarah Jolley wrote: "Golf is one of the only sports that has been open and can be played socially distanced during Covid-19 except during lockdowns.
"Stockwood Park Golf Centre is a gem in our town, it caters for all ages and is an affordable golf centre."