Belfast City Council has paid out £5,000 to owners of houses and vehicles damaged by stray golf balls who live close to a popular golf course, it has emerged.
The compensation has been made within the last four years after errant balls were hit out of bounds from the City of Belfast Golf Course into the neighbouring housing development in Mallusk.
Residents living in houses in the Rogan Wood area — understood to be around 150 yards away from the first fairway — have experienced ongoing problems since 2008.
Windows of homes — which back onto the second half of the fairway of the first green—and car windscreens have been damaged.
And some residents are reportedly afraid to allow their children out to play in their gardens for fear of being struck by a ball.
But after years of discussion a solution to the problem has almost been reached — to erect a ball stop netting costing £40,000.
Both the council and golf club have made numerous attempts to solve the problem.
The first hole has been reduced by around 60 metres and a temporary tee box has also been installed to the far left of the hole to reduce the risk of golfers ‘hooking’ into the gardens.
A permanent fence which has been discussed, however, is “not possible at present”. This is due to electricity lines which would have to be re-routed or repositioned. That work and fence is estimated to cost £120,000.
The Department of the Environment confirmed it had received proposals for a net fencing to be erected. A spokesperson for the golf course was unavailable when contacted.
DUP Newtownabbey councillor Nigel Hamilton, however, said both Belfast and Newtownabbey councils together with the club have worked hard to resolve the issue.
“I believe we are getting there,” he said. “It has been important to recognise the health and safety issues, anxiety of the residents and get a conclusion acceptable for the golf club. A satisfactory solution is in the making.”
A Belfast City Council spokesman said a report on the matter is being prepared for the parks and leisure committee and will be presented at their meeting in March.
“We will be presenting a number of options at that time and until these are examined fully by the committee we are unable to say what the final solution will be.
“There are no claims currently pending but over the last three to four years we have paid out a total of £5,000 mainly for damage to windows and car windscreens.”