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We have objected to a new planning application, from Old Thorns Golf and Country Club, to create a golf-course on a heathland common near Liphook in the South Downs National Park.
The golf course will be highly damaging to the superb landscape of the area and people’s enjoyment of it. The development will also interfere with the rights of the public to walk over the whole common. The applicants seem to dismiss these rights as unimportant.
Heathland commons are especially important for their wildlife habitats which are rapidly diminishing. The golf course will interfere with the rights of graziers whose stock do good work in maintaining the heathland habitat.
The applicants are surely aware that, even if they obtain planning permission, they must still have consent from the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, under section 38 of the Commons Act 2006, for works on common land, or they must offer suitable common land in exchange for the common they are taking (section 16 of the Commons Act 2006). Such applications will be strenuously opposed.
This development appears to be for purely private gain at huge cost to the public interest in this unique landscape. We have urged the South Downs National Park Authority to oppose it.