Councillors Approve Gunnersbury Park Mini-golf Plan

Fate of bowls club sealed as committee support changes to pavilion and green

The bowls club pavilion is likely to be converted into a cafe/restaurant
The bowls club pavilion will be converted into a cafe/restaurant

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Friends of Gunnersbury Park and Museum

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June 25, 2021

A mini-golf course has been approved for Gunnersbury Park after Hounslow councillors debated the plan for two hours on Thursday night (24 June). A report by a council planner had recommended approval of the application after previous submissions had been rejected.

Gunnersbury Park Bowls Club, which has occupied the site since 1931, will see its dilapidated pavilion renovated and its green replaced by an astroturf putting course.

The new course will be built and run by Putt in the Park, which runs similar mini-golf venues in parks in Acton, Wandsworth, Battersea and Colchester.

Hounslow Council planning committee members backed the plan, with six voting in favour, three opposing and one abstaining.

Friends of Gunnersbury Park member, Val Bott, said Putt in the Park would be “a garish charged-for golfing playground” when she spoke at the planning meeting.

She accused the non-profit organisation Gunnersbury Estate, which manages the park, of treating the bowls club poorly.

Putt in the Park director Justin Fish told the committee he hoped 30,000 rounds would be played a year, with the rent paid contributing to upkeep of the park and its museum.

The course would be free for local schools and the course would provide wheelchair access toilets for the park, he added.

Councillor Guy Lambert, who backed the application, said, “The reality is that we had a bowls club with 22 members I believe, maybe it was 23, and not much use.

“There was an opportunity, and they were encouraged to try and to grow membership, and they failed to do so.

“At that point, the bowls club itself handed back the keys and said that they were winding up.

“I’ve had conversations with members of the so-called bowls club who said ‘it’s finished,’ they’ve given up, admittedly they said the CIC were intransigent and don’t want to play.”

Councillor Ajmer Grewal said, “It’s about time we gave the public something new, it’s a large park and a section of it could go for crazy golf or whatever, so I do support it.”

Councillor Tony Louki, who opposed the plan, said he welcomed the ‘new sports activity’ but it was difficult to understand the plan without knowing the wider masterplan for the park.

“This is a Disney-type crazy-golf thing, however it’s couched, using plastic grass as well as replacing a well-manicured bowls green, I’m finding it difficult to support in the wider context which has not yet been revealed.”

A masterplan for Gunnersbury Park is to be considered by the council this summer.

Josh Mellor - Local Democracy Reporter

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