Popular Scottish municipal golf course under threat

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A proposal to build a community sports village could render Edinburgh’s municipal Portobello Golf Course unviable, bunkered.co.uk has learned.

The proposal, which is being put forward by the Portobello Community Sports Village Working Group, outlines plans to build an all-new sports centre, as well as several rugby pitches adjacent to Portobello Golf Course in Edinburgh.

It is believed that the new centre would encroach on current Portobello Golf Course land, reducing the course, already a nine-hole layout, by over 500 yards and potentially to just six holes.

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The plans, still in their infancy, have not yet been lodged to the council and the working group is currently consulting with local sports clubs to understand the requirements of all in the local area.

“The course would become unviable in its current form,” said Jack Bonynge, handicap convenor at Portobello Golf Club.

“We sent these plans to a course architect and they came back and said that it would be far too dangerous for a nine-hole course top operate in such a small space. Every hole would be far too close to each other for it to be viable.

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“We have said that there is no way we are prepared to lose anymore ground on the course and give this proposal our backing. We have the viewpoint that, although we are affiliated to the course, we have no real say in what’s going to happen to it as it is Edinburgh Leisure who own the place.”

An Edinburgh Leisure spokesperson told bunkered.co.uk that they are aware of discussions surrounding the proposals but are not sure what stage those discussions are at.

Previous moves have been made to tackle the declining use of the course by Edinburgh Leisure. As recently as 2018, plans to repurpose Portobello Golf Course, which dates back to the 19th century, into a ‘family-friendly’, multi-activity public space were tabled by Edinburgh Leisure before being scrapped.

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“I’m not sure Edinburgh Leisure would be massively keen to get rid of the course now due to the 1,200 new members across its courses,” added Bonynge. “If things do progress further, we will take up the fight to stop it happening.”


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