The R&A has set out a commitment to sustainability and to providing enhancements for nature and wildlife in its redevelopment of the public golf course at Lethamhill, creating a new community golf facility in the north-east of Glasgow.
The R&A has secured approval to redevelop the golf course at Lethamhill in Glasgow, to create a brand new community golf facility 🏌️♂️🏌️♀️— The R&A (@RandA) August 10, 2021
The facility will be designed for everyone, regardless of age or ability and will look to open in summer 2023 ⛳️👉 https://t.co/PYFrD8AQYr pic.twitter.com/Gn3YKYgnty
Several ecology surveys have been undertaken by leading ecologists alongside Nature Scot and Applied Ecology, in order to produce a Biodiversity Enhancement and Management Plan which outlines measures to improve biodiversity throughout the venue and enable its integration with the adjacent Hogganfield nature reserve and the wider Seven Lochs Wetlands Park.
These include extensive tree-planting and seeding of native scrub to offset the necessary and careful felling of poor condition or unwanted tree specimens, as well as creating over three hectares of new species-rich wildflower grasslands and wetlands with pollinator-friendly marginal planting.
Local wildlife will also benefit from venue enhancements such as the installation of habitat piles and standing deadwood for invertebrates and small mammals such as hedgehogs; provision of bat roost boxes and bird nest boxes on trees and new buildings; and creation of foraging and burrowing habitat for water voles, a species which is declining in the UK.
The Seven Lochs Partnership has also been involved in the development and implementation of the plan. A new network of public nature trails that link into existing walking routes of the Seven Lochs Wetland Park is being created for use by visitors to the urban heritage and nature park, while a community orchard featuring fruiting and flowering shrubs and species-rich ground flora is also being constructed for use by community groups and pupils from schools and nurseries in local areas.
Sustainability key in facility development
Jenny Brown, Director – Business Development at The R&A, said, “We are absolutely conscious of our responsibility to ensure that the new community golf facility exists in harmony with nature and local wildlife and so we have developed a comprehensive plan with enhancements for native plant and animal species, as well as existing habitats that will benefit them.
“We also see integration with the existing Seven Lochs wetland park as vital for encouraging people to visit the venue and enjoy the facilities and exciting activities that will be on offer, and this will be achieved by extending the network of public nature trails that already exist. We now have representation on the board of the Seven Lochs Partnership and look forward to working closely with its team to bring our plans to life.”
Councillor Maureen Burke, Chair of the Seven Lochs Partnership said, “We are delighted that The R&A has joined the Seven Lochs Partnership and look forward to working with them on this new and unique part of the Seven Lochs Wetland Park. Hogganfield Park is already one of Glasgow’s best nature sites and The R&A’s commitment to creating new woodland, wetland and wildflower habitats around the golf course will further improve it. The new golf centre will be a fantastic new facility for people to discover and explore the Seven Lochs’ amazing wildlife, and for school pupils to learn about the nature on their doorstep.”
GEO status for new golf facility
The R&A is also aiming to achieve GEO Certified® Development status for the new venue, which is the highest available standard for design and construction of facilities in the golf industry. This will be achieved by reducing resource consumption, emissions, waste and pollution; using renewable energy sources; and procuring local, recycled and recyclable materials.
Brown said, “As a global governing body, we believe that the development of the new facility must adhere to the highest standards of sustainability and be viewed as a benchmark for other industry operators to aspire to. We have a sustainability blueprint in place to guide the design, construction and future operation of the venue so that it has minimal impact on the local environment.”
Construction of the new facility is now underway following planning approval, and it is hoped that it will open in the summer of 2023.