The climate change pressure group Extinction Rebellion has been branded “unreasonable” after it protested for a golf course in Brighton to be closed for “re-wilding”.
Stephen Garrioch, the captain of Hollingbury Golf Club, hit out at the group after its activists staged a protest in the East Sussex town at the weekend.
The campaigners are calling upon Brighton and Hove Council, which operates the facility, to abandon the course and let it grow naturally to encourage wildlife.
The golf club’s current lease expires at the end of the March. Activists from the group met at the top of the Hollingbury golf course on Saturday, forming a human hourglass symbol to represent the Extinction Rebellion logo before marching into Brighton.
“What Extinction Rebellion are asking for is an extension for the council to discuss this site,” Garrioch told The Argus. “I don’t think that’s unreasonable in itself. What is unreasonable is the fact that the site would then have to close on March 31, and if it closes I believe we will lose members and the chances of it coming back as a golf course will be unlikely.
“You have then put 30 people out of work, including the bar staff, chefs and managers, and the head greenkeeper who lives on site will have to go.”
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Claudia Fisher, a member of Extinction Rebellion, revealed that Hollingbury is one of two local courses – Waterhall being the other – that they want the council to close.
“We want to help the butterflies, birds and dormice suffering in the current biodiversity crisis.” she said. “Many of these animals have just gone. We know that money’s tight, but we want to work with the council so they honour their commitment to tackle the climate emergency and save our biodiversity.”
Garrioch, however, hopes that a compromise can be reached.
“Hollingbury could still be used for golf and could be rewilded in some areas, and it could still be used for education purposes,” he said.
“You would lose a club with such a long history and a great social
aspect. We’ve still got guys who come up here even though they can’t
“It’s part of their lives and you’re just taking that away from them.”