A Birmingham golf club has vowed to let a former allotments site stand idle after the city council yesterday threw out its plans for a new practice area on the land.
Moseley Golf Club's planning application to create a space for its 600 members to improve their game was rejected by the planning committee in favour of its tenants, the Billesley Lane Allotments Association (BLA).
The club owns the land but the council decided in favour of its use as allotments, refusing the application on the grounds it was "an important local facility".
The disputed area was used for the Dig for Victory campaign in the Second World War and had been leased to BLA. But the association was forced to give up three acres - about three-quarters of the land - after its lease ran out in 2001. This has since been turned into waste land by the club, it said.
The tenancy agreement for BLA's remaining 23 allotments runs out in 2018.
The golf club plans to appeal against the refusal and said even if it was rejected again, the land would not be used for allotments.
Club president John Keenan said: "We required the practice area in order to get the General Charter Mark and encourage golf in Birmingham for young people.
"Incidentally, we have more members living in the Moseley and Kings Heath area than there are allotment holders.
"The land belongs to Moseley Golf Club. There are no allotments on it, there is no intention for us to have allotments on it, so maybe we will have to appeal.
"If rejected, the land will stand idle. It will do nothing, which will be of no benefit to anyone."
Geoff Bainbridge, of the BLA, praised the council's decision but said the victory was only "minor". He said the refusal did not guarantee BLA would be able to use the land again and, if the club turned down their plea, the association would contact the council for a compulsory purchase order to ensure the land would be used for allotments and not be neglected.
He added that an earlier CPO had been rejected but the BLA was willing to try again. "We're delighted that the council have done the right thing in following planning policies that highlight the importance of allotments to health, environment and community," he said. "This is a minor victory but we only have a lease on the remaining allotments until 2018 and other sites in the area are full. We call on the club to return the land to allotment use."
The BLA's call for a CPO in the event of the club refusing to allow allotments was backed by Councillor Martin Mullaney (Lib Dem Moseley and Kings Heath).
Coun Mullaney, who lives opposite the allotments, said: "They are an important community asset and we need to find a compromise with the golf club where they can have their extended golf course and the allotments receive an extended 99-year lease."
In response to Mr Keenan's comments about the land being left idle, he said: "If that is the case, I think they are being very silly. There is a waiting list for allotments. I would support the council having a second attempt at compulsory purchasing the land."
Chris Williams, of Birmingham Friends of the Earth, said: "This decision sets a positive precedent for other allotment sites under threat in the city."
A city council spokeswoman said the application was refused as the land was "an important local facility" after it had been used for years as allotments.