Public outcry after Luton Council reveals plans to shut Stockwood Park

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Proposals to close the Stockwood Park Golf Center in Hertfordshire have sparked anger among club members and the general public.

Luton Borough Council has launched a public survey on its plans to close the golf center, which has an 18-hole, par-3-9-hole and 21-bay driving range to offset lost income other areas, including Luton Airport, which saw a significant drop in sales during the pandemic.

Paul Hulme, Club Captain at Stockwood Park, said: “I am disgusted that during a pandemic, when golf participation increases and we need more green space than ever, the council is considering closing such a valuable asset for the people of Luton. The Stockwood Park Golf Center has over 250 members and attracts golf companies and casual players from a wide area.

“When the course is closed, the council reinforces the prejudice that golf is a game reserved for old, rich, white men. Golf is a sport for life and shouldn't be reserved for the elite. Stockwood Park features a public golf course for all ages and backgrounds that has been played by tens of thousands over the past 50 years. "

Luton Borough Council says savings from the financial impact of Covid-19 will be factored in. A statement from the council said: “The council is exploring potential savings from a significant budget deficit due to a collapse in passenger numbers at Luton Airport, which is an important source of revenue for the council and revenue support for Active Luton. As a direct result of the effects of the coronavirus shutdown, the council is particularly focused on the future operations of the Stockwood Park golf center. These include the 18-hole course, the 9-hole course and the clubhouse building. "

An online petition to save the golf center was launched last week and has already attracted over 5,500 signatures. The petition organizer, Sarah Jolley, wrote: “Golf is one of the few sports that was open and can be played socially at a distance during Covid-19, except during lockdowns. The Stockwood Park Golf Center is a gem in our town, it is suitable for all ages and an affordable golf center. "

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