A campaign to save the second oldest golf club in Wales and one of the most historic has swung into action.
Members at Rhyl Golf Club have discovered that the Awel y Môr Offshore Wind Farm project poses as a “new and real threat” to their existence.
Two options are currently on the table.
Plan A involves placing two transition jointing boxes of two 20 metre by five metre concrete slabs in the middle of the golf course – across the forth, fifth and sixth fairways. The construction will require access rights and with this being a National Significant Infrastructure Project members say there will be “constant disruption”.
Plan B is similar, but jointing boxes will be placed half-a-mile inland of the other side of Lyons Robin Hood Holiday Park and railway line by Dyserth bends.
Mike Pritchard, marketing officer at Rhyl Golf Club, said: “Obviously Plan B would mean that the golf club would just need to contend with the sea defence work.
“We can play golf around this limited disruption.
“The work for Plan A, plus the sea defence work, would mean continued disruption for up to six years. It would mean closure of the course for their works to be safely undertaken.
“The course would be unplayable and alternatives for our existing members would need to be sought.
“This, in reality, would just be unsustainable for Rhyl Golf Club and we would see no viable future, especially as the lease we have been given is for a limited time beyond this.”
Awel y Môr Offshore Wind Farm is being developed by RWE Renewables to the West of the existing Gwynt y Môr Offshore Wind Farm approximately 10.5km off the Welsh coast in the Irish Sea, with a maximum total area of 88km2. A public consultation on plans is running until October 11.
Mike added: “If Plan A went ahead the golf course will close permanently and the club would no longer exist. It is as stark as that.
“We have carried out our own feasibility and we just won’t have the commercial viability. Can you imagine telling our members that they have up to six years worth of disruption with the final years meaning that the course could not be played on at all for up to two seasons. How would you feel as a member? Let alone trying to attract in new members – it would be a marketing Everest to climb in flip-flops.
“Members are very worried. This is the future of their club, their social gathering space, their exercise remember and one of the oldest Golf Clubs in Wales. Members are talking to their friends, family and local community to gain their support and to not let this plan take away something special to them.
“We want RWE (Awel y Môr) to go with Plan B and build their structure at the back of the railway line about half a mile from the Golf Club. Dong Energy have already build their site there and we know this is a viable option.
“The club was founded in 1890, we are one of the original James Braid designed courses and we have more than 200 members. We have also had notable golfers play the course over the years such as Henry Cotton and Harry Vardon to name a few.
“We have started to complete the Awel y Môr online feedback forms. This is a local community fightback; We want our voice to be heard far and wide and the more that can support us the better.
“We just want to let the people of Rhyl know that this will leave a big hole in the region if we go – and it may be one loss too many.”
Golf club members held an online meeting with Awel y Môr representatives on October 4. Councillors including Barry Mellor, Tony Thomas and Brian Jones were also involved.
A spokesperson for Awel y Môr said, “We are fully aware of the concerns raised and are currently holding detailed discussions with Rhyl Golf Club and Denbighshire County Council with regards to the Awel y Môr project. Our ongoing consultation welcomes any feedback and we would like to assure everyone that all views expressed over how we progress with the project, and specifically in light of this matter, will be considered.
“We are aware that there have been modifications made by Denbighshire County Council to the proposed sea defence plans that minimises the impact on the golf club, and we will again consider those in our final deliberations.
“We would encourage anyone to raise any matters or concerns using our online response options or come to our consultation events, where our staff will be happy to meet and discuss further. The consultation is open until October 11”
Submit feedback at www.awelymor.cymru
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