diamond geezer

 Thursday, March 02, 2017

Solving London's Housing Crisis (proposal number 437): There are more than 50 golf courses within the boundaries of Greater London. Surely we don't need them all? A lot of the time they're empty, which is a complete waste of valuable land. And they take up a lot of space - nearly two and a half thousand hectares altogether, which is double the size of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Let's shut some, let's shut half of them, and then build flats instead.

OK, it'll inconvenience people who like golf, but they tend to own homes already so it's their turn to be mildly disadvantaged. What's more they also tend to own cars so they can easily drive somewhere else, even out into the Home Counties where there tend to be even more golf courses, making London's even more unnecessary. And OK, it'll mean building on the Green Belt, but it's not like golf courses are proper Green Belt, and even if we built on every single golf course there'd still be 93% of London's Green Belt left, so where's the problem?

One of the great things about building on golf courses is that they come ready landscaped, with trees and shrubbery all around. Each of the fairways could be transformed into a separate residential strip, two or three hundred yards long, which is easily sufficient to slot in several blocks of mid-rise flats. A typical estate would start off at First Avenue and wind its way round to Ninth, or more likely Eighteenth, with hundreds of new living spaces slotted in along each hole. If fitted out carefully, I reckon three dozen reconstructed golf courses could house more than fifty thousand people.

Each clubhouse would become a cluster of shops, maybe with a health centre attached. Hire bikes would be provided to help everybody get around, and to connect them to local public transport. Oh, and there'd be none of that bespoke architecture stuff, this'd be standardised construction to a practical blueprint, helping to keep costs down and maximising affordable accommodation for all. The last thing London needs is the same people who used to play golf coming come back to live in hi-spec developer heaven, because that's simply par for the course.


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