Public golf courses may become allotments

Allotments such as this may be even more common in Edinburgh

By Shane de Barra

They make up for one quarter of Edinburgh’s open space and have catered for those of a golfing persuasion for years however the Scottish capital’s 6 public golf courses may soon be sanctuary to aspiring gardeners as opposed to the next potential Tiger Woods.

The fall in the number of people playing golf across the Scottish Capital and the loss of membership to private courses, who have cut the costs of their fees significantly in the midst of recession, has led to a proposal that may see the land mass currently occupied by the courses replaced by allotments.

The six courses at Braid Hills, Portobello, Princes, Silverkowes, Craigentinny and Carrick Knowe are located at various points around the city and have provided a strong public service in recent years however the huge demand for allotments has raised the question if the space they occupy is being used in most cost effective way and if indeed they cater to a wide enough audience.

With waiting lists of over 2,100 for just 1,230 plots the surge in popularity of allotments has also been attributed to the recession as the Capital’s people look to revert to more simple and traditional forms of recreation to ride out the economic downturn. The proposal which will be considered by Edinburgh Councillors would see the golf courses ploughed up to make way for acres of next allotment space.

A spokesperson for the City of Edinburgh Council said:
“Once completed, the Open Space Strategy will help the Council to ensure that open spaces, such as parks, sports’ pitches and golf courses are managed and utilised to their full potential.
“Anecdotal evidence suggests that there has been a decline in the number of people playing golf across the country. As golf courses make up a quarter of the open space in Edinburgh, it is important that they are included in the study.
“However, the strategy is still in the early stages and information on how these facilities are being used is still being gathered.”