Golf courses could provide ‘a more creative way’ to ease London’s housing crisis

London’s golf courses could provide enough space to house 300,000 people, fresh research shows.

Almost half of the capital’s 94 active golf courses are owned by London boroughs or other public bodies, such as the Church Commissioners.

Russell Curtis, an architect and the author of “Golf Belt”, a new study of how London’s golf courses could help address the housing crisis, highlights that the land could be used to help boost the supply of much-needed new housing.

While he is not actually calling for all the capital’s golf courses to be turned into housing, he  does argue that some courses could be made more accessible to residents in London, with allotments, biodiverse green space, sports facilities or even urban farms all viable options.

“This is not a war on golf,” Curtis told the press. “There surely has to be a way of improving the social utility and accessibility of golf courses to benefit the wider population. The redevelopment of golf courses is always presented as a binary choice between beautiful green fields or concrete, but there’s a model in the middle where you could provide new homes and social infrastructure while achieving biodiversity gain.”

According to the study, Britain is home to a quarter of all the golf courses in Europe, with one in 20 found in London, despite the capital making up just 0.65% of the UK’s total land area.

The 43 publicly owned golf courses in London take up just under 1,600 hectares (3,950 acres) of land in Greater London, bigger than the borough of Hammersmith & Fulham, which has a population of 185,000.

Sadiq Khan, the London mayor, has signalled his determination to protect the green belt, but Curtis, who is one of 50 design advocates appointed by the mayor to support truly sustainable development, questioned whether golf courses meet the definition of metropolitan open land.

“This land could be thought about in a more creative way,” he said.

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3 Comments

  1. Cheese.

    Ah yes – taking away green space and recreational space, always a good move.

    There is plenty of brownfeild land amd ex trading estates in South London that could easily be developed. Stoopid idea.

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  2. Dick Value

    After allotments last month, I guess this is a natural extension of that thinking.

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  3. Woodentop

    Totally nuts. Someone needs to go to school and take a tech course about social well being and mental health. The advantages of green space and recreation is essential. From what this guys suggests everyone would be surrounded by concrete. If you want to build, go up. Sky’s the limit.

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