23 June 2014

Rottingdean pitch and putt site could become nature reserve

A proposal to turn the former Rottingdean Pitch and Putt course into a nature reserve will be considered by councillors next week (July 1).

The Friends of Beacon Hill Nature Reserve have submitted a proposal to Brighton & Hove City Council to establish a learning centre on the council-owned site.

The community group wants to extend the existing Beacon Hill Nature Reserve and use a small kiosk building on the golf course as a hub for classes for school children, community events and refreshments. They hope the site could become a gateway to the South Downs National Park.

The proposal will be considered by members of the council's Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee at a meeting on July 1, when they will be recommended to grant a seven year lease to the Beacon Hub project on a peppercorn rent.

The lease on the golf course expired in March 2012 and marketing by the council to find a viable commercial use for the site have been unsuccessful. There is already another pitch and putt course around a mile away at Roedean.

A report to the committee says the Friends of Beacon Hill have secured £25,000 of private funding to help establish the project, subject to a minimum lease of seven years, and will need to secure further grant funding and planning permission to convert the kiosk into an educational space.

Councillor Pete West, chair of the committee, said: "The Friends of Beacon Hill have come up with a proposal to put the site to good use for local people and the wider community. It is a real community effort, which will rely on local volunteers and fundraising for grants, and fits really well within the newly created Brighton & Lewes Downs Biosphere.

He added: "We are keen to get the kiosk building back into use, while it has been empty it has become a target for vandals and squatters, which means we are currently paying for security on the site."

More information

Rottingdean Pitch and Putt is located west of Rottingdean between the A259 in the south and Beacon Hill Nature Reserve to the north. The nature reserve is managed by the council's parks team.

Read the report here (agenda item 11): http://present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=823&MId=5175

Find out more about the Brighton and Lewes Downs Biosphere