A BID by Old Thorns Golf Club to turn a piece of remote heathland, near Rake, into an 18-hole golf course has been withdrawn after four years.

The club wanted to develop the 72-hectare Weaver’s Down site north of Langley Lane because its championship course at Griggs Green was becoming too congested.

The application, made in 2013, received strong objections from Natural England, parish councils in Milland, Liss and Rake – but had the support from Bramshott and Liphook parish councillors, who believed it would protect the heathland, encourage wildlife and birds as well as provide some employment and attract visitors to the South Downs National Park.

Objections included concerns over dog walkers displacement, birds and protected species, landscape impacts, sewage, need for additional parking facilities and further development on the site.

The Old Thorns’ design and access statement outlined that the heathland golf course would be in keeping with the landscape, as there would be no bunkers or tree planting to create an alien aspect, and the contrast of the new course to its existing parkland course would give experienced players more variety. Old Thorns also believed the golf course’s concept would be to return the site, which has been agriculturally improved over a number of decades, to a natural state by reinstating the extensive mosaic of heathland and acid grassland.