A TOWN is planning to ban golf in parks and recreation grounds after damage to property and safety fears.

Complaints about golfers using public spaces in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, to practice their swing have led the borough council to look at introducing a by-law banning the sport.

Deb Wright, the council's parks development manager, said in a report to councillors that complaints about golfers had risen in the past 18 months.

She said: "Practising of golf in unauthorised areas is dangerous to other people using the public open space and has caused actual damage to public open space and neighbouring private property.

"Damage has been caused to fences, football pitch playing surfaces, and quantities of miss-hit balls have been found on privately owned property.

"Without a by-law, our own security patrols or the police have no authority to prevent members of the public practising golf on our public open spaces. This leaves park users at risk of injury from a flying golf ball."

If the by-law is introduced, anyone caught practising would be made to leave the area. The areas where golf could be banned include Belmont Park, Butler recreation ground, Irongate sports field and Killinghall Moor football fields, all in Harrogate.

The issue will be discussed by Harrogate Borough Council next Monday