Park protesters tee off course protection drive

Portobello Golf Club
Portobello Golf Club
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CAMPAIGNERS are hoping to use the Queen’s diamond jubilee to protect Portobello Golf Course from future attempts to build on it.

Portobello Park Action Group (PPAG) is asking the city council to support the nomination of the facility for accreditation of Diamond Jubilee Fields.

The move would see the council-owned course held in perpetuity and be immune from future developments.

PPAG’s Diana Cairns said: “Given the fact the council started off by saying they were going to build the new Portobello High, St John’s Primary and housing on the Portobello Park and golf course, we would like to see the golf course protected.

“Housing is no longer part of the plan, but the council has never said they won’t build on the golf course and we’ve never been given a cast-iron guarantee nothing would go ahead.”

PPAG has been locked in a bitter battle against plans to build a replacement high school in Portobello Park, which it says would decimate a substantial area of public open space.

The group is currently in the process of a legal appeal against the development.

“If we lose our appeal, we will have lost the park, but with jubilee status no-one would be allowed to build on the course. It would have to be retained as a space for recreational purposes.”

The Diamond Jubilee Fields campaign is run by Fields in Trust, a charity dedicated to protecting and improving outdoor space for sport, play and recreation.

In September, the council announced a list of 24 parks and open spaces being put forward for jubilee status, including Starbank, Victoria City and Brighton parks. The nominated areas will go head-to-head in a national poll to decide which of them will become Diamond Jubilee Fields.

Portobello councillor Maureen Child said: “It’s a super idea to get jubilee status for the golf course. It will certainly alleviate any concerns about the loss of the golf course.”

Sean Watters, chairman of Portobello for a New School, said: “I think most people would be happy to see if it was a possibility.”

The motion, put forward by ex-councillor Stephen Hawkins, will be considered on June 18.