Belfast Telegraph

Safety to the ‘fore’ for golf club neighbours

A north Belfast golf club and Belfast City Council (BCC) are forking out £40,000 to erect a fence after a neighbouring young person began legal proceedings against them because of the danger from flying golf balls.

The council was asked to contribute £20,000 to the cost of erecting the fence on the first hole of the City of Belfast Golf Club after it received a solicitor’s letter threatening an injunction which would have effectively banned people from playing the first hole.

The solicitor’s letter referred to incidents on May 11, and August 5, 2011, and stated that the activities at the golf course continue to present a risk to the minor as a result of golf balls ‘egressing’ from the course and landing in his |garden.

The letter states that in addition to the risk of personal injury the falling of balls into their garden also constitutes a ‘nuisance’ in respect to the child’s ability to have a quiet and peaceable enjoyment at his family home.

It states the risk also interferes with the child’s Article 2 and 8 rights under the Human Rights Act. These govern the right to life and the right to respect for a person’s private and family life, home and correspondence.

In the letter the solicitor asked that the golf course close down the first hole until works are undertaken to remedy the situation and that it has been instructed to apply for a Civil Injunction against BCC.

BCC’s Parks and Leisure Committee discussed the matter in a council meeting on September 15. They heard that the golf club had agreed to meet the total cost of works to reach a speedy resolution but that since that was money which had been set aside for a new club house they asked the council to “make provision for 50% of the fencing within its estimates at a future date’’.

The council estimates the work will take around 11 weeks between the NIE work and the fence building. They undertake to have the fence built in 2012/13 and have stated that they will ‘endure’ the injunction for a short time, but they have proposed to have the first hole shortened.

East Belfast UUP councillor, Alderman Jim Rodgers, who is on the council’s Parks and Leisure Committee, said: “I’m very concerned that the council is spending so much money for putting the fence up.

“We were first alerted to this problem five years ago.”

He said that residents and the council had discussed the issue of balls coming over into properties and none had raised any issues with it.

He said: “The golf club now manages the facility and they have been doing excellent work, but some people are saying that they hope ratepayers aren’t going to have to pay for this. I didn’t vote against it, but I’m not for the council spending money on putting up this fence.”

He said he was “naturally concerned’’ when any property is damaged or injury occurs because of a golf ball, but he didn’t support the proposal.

No one from the golf course was available for comment.

Belfast Telegraph

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