Golf or housing – thats the wrong question!

According to Shelter “We use as much land for golf courses in England as we do for homes.

There are around 2000 full sized golf courses in England (141 in Surrey alone), with hundreds more smaller courses and driving ranges, according to Colin Wiles on the Inside Housing blog. He calculates that the overall footprint of just the full sized courses is 150,000 hectares or 1.1% of England’s 13.4m hectares. According to a comprehensive government assessment in 2011, that’s the same amount of land in England used for homes.

When we are suffering from a major housing shortage – a deficit which is growing by over 100,000 homes each and every year – you would have thought that it would be better known that we use just as much land for golf.

This is not to say we need to build over any golf course in the country, or have anything against golf. Just that we could find the land for homes if we really wanted to.

Comment On the face of it we suspect many readers of the above will express disapproval – golf rather than housing!!!!!

Lets pause there.  There is actually an issue about the data.  The figure quoted for housing only includes the built over area – gardens and other land use associated with housing is excluded.  It’s not really like for like.   Now golf courses are still green as we all know.  They are undeveloped and could be transferred to say agricultural use quite easily.   Green areas can also contribute to the overall environment – urban residents may prefer that land is used for golf rather than being developed.  We question whether the blog is being somewhat confrontational – would they argue that too much land is used for football or cricket?

What Shelter ignore is that land is a finite resource.  Maybe we do allocate too much land to golf – perhaps some should be used to grow food.  But we cannot argue that we can carry on building over greenfield sites ad infinitum!



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