Stornoway Golf Course was a busy place on Sunday as over 100 families and friends enjoyed some winter sledging fun
The question ‘Should all sport taking place in the Castle Grounds be treated in the same way by the Stornoway Trust?’ was answered by over 740 voices in an online survey open for only four days.
More than 75% of survey responses were in favour of all sports being given the same standing in Lews Castle Grounds.
And community landowner, the Stornoway Trust, is now in negotiation with Stornoway Golf Club to open the golf course to family play on a Sunday.
“At last we can have common sense,” said Stornoway Trustee Callum Ian Macmillan, who published the online survey question.
He added that the result is ‘regarded by many as a major breakthrough in terms of sport in the Lews Castle Grounds’; and now ‘a number of changes are anticipated’.
A former Junior Golf Coach, Mr Macmillan detailed that Trust developments within the Grounds were ‘in keeping’ with the Outer Hebrides Community Planning Partnership’s ‘Local Outcome Improvement Plan 2017-27’ – of which the Stornoway Trust are one of many organisation partners.
The Partnership’s Improvement Plan focuses on lifestyle and opportunity in the Western Isles, with emphasis on daily access and participation in recreational activities.
Recently over 100 children, families and friends enjoyed sledging on Stornoway Golf Course, and the Castle Grounds are also regularly used for athletics, walking, cycling, and other family recreational activities seven days a week.
The only sport which cannot take place seven days a week is golf as the Club course is closed – but with discussions currently taking place, families could enjoy the prospect of playing golf on a Sunday.
Presently, during winter, families and individuals cannot play golf at the weekend as Stornoway Golf Club competitions take place on a Saturday and golf is prohibited on a Sunday.
The Stornoway Trust is now in negotiation with Stornoway Golf Club on a ‘new lease’ for the course, said Mr Macmillan, adding that ‘both are committed to maximising use of the facilities of Lews Castle Grounds’.
“The main condition which the community expects from a new lease is that Stornoway Golf Club commits itself to opening up the course to families by excluding all competitions from taking place on a Sunday,” said Mr Macmillan.
“This will maximise access for families, particularly during the winter, support the development of Junior Golfers, and be ‘in keeping’ with the way the Trust is trying to maximise the benefit to the community.”
Families could soon enjoy golf on a Sunday during the winter months
Already, as per the Community Partnership Improvement Plan, the Stornoway Trust delivers ‘attractive opportunities to improve the quality of life, well-being and heath for all’ through initiatives such as ‘Parks for People’ and the recently introduced Cycle Tracks.
Changes ahead in provision include developments to the Cycle Tracks with new signage and leaflets to be installed throughout the Grounds Cycle Tracks which will provide details of paths and safety for any cyclists wishing to use the facilities any day of the week.
And the Stornoway Trust already protects and encourages walking and family recreation in parts of Lews Castle Grounds by closing barriers, to stop cars driving in areas where there are no pavements where families are enjoying walks and recreation on a Sunday.
“This should never change,” said Mr Macmillan. “The roads and paths with no roads or pavements are there for a reason; they are there for family enjoyment and the barriers restricting car access are entirely ‘in keeping’ with the aims of the Community Partnership.”
He added: “People forget the work that Stornoway Trustees, the Golf Club Committee, and the staff of both organisations do to make the Castle Grounds a place to be proud of. The time has come to move on.”