The people behind a plan to breath new life into a flagging golf course met with the neighbours who are against the proposal last night.
Woodland Environmental Ltd has been brought in by Little Hay Golf Course operators Dacorum Sports Trust to revamp the venue, created back in the 1970s.
At a meeting with Bourne End householders golf course manager George Reid said the business is struggling because the course is not challenging enough, and private golf courses have slashed their joining fees.
“Golfers now have a big choice of where they can go,” he said.
“When the money was coming in private golf courses were investing in improving their golf courses. When the money was coming in at Little Hay it went to the local authority and they decided how to spend it so Little Hay fell behind.”
Anthony Hodgson from Woodland Environmental later added: “Golfers are going to more exclusive courses which are quite frankly a lot better.”
Under the proposal, already submitted to Dacorum Borough Council planning chiefs, a more difficult 18-hole course would be created along with a driving range.
It would also include a lake and reservoir, which would be used for rainwater harvesting to save the £18,000 that is currently being spent each year on mains water to keep the tees and greens flourishing.
In the 1980s the Bovingdon course had around 700 members but today there are only about 350.
But those living around Little Hay are concerned about the use of ‘inert’ waste to contour the course, lorries using single track Upper Bourne End Lane for access to the site, the loss of views across the Chilterns and the removal of trees.
Over an 18-month period around 75 lorries will visit the site each day - delivering a total of 295,000 cubic metres of inert material, which Woodland Environmental assured those at the meeting, held at Bourne End Village Hall, is non-reactive, odourless and poses no risk to people or the environment. It is already used on motorway embankments, BMX tracks and at other golf courses.
Temporary traffic lights and marshals will be put in place to manage traffic travelling up and down Upper Bourne End Lane during the works and there will be no construction traffic on Saturdays.
An estimated 424 trees will be removed but many of these are species that are not native to the area and these will be replaced with woodland blocks and a total of 9,491 trees and shrubs.