AFTER rolling back the years to break his own golfing record, 93-year-old Harry Benford is telling developers to leave his club alone.

Mr Benford has once again lifted the Abingdon Rotary Club Challenor Cup.

The North Oxford member last lifted the trophy in 2016 aged 90.

But now approaching his 94th birthday, he claimed the cup once again – the sixth time in total.

And he has pointed out to developers the clear health benefits of playing a round of golf.

Oxford Mail:

Mr Benford, from Witney, shot a net score of 69 at his home course to see off his 11 opponents to claim victory in an event held annually at various Oxfordshire courses since its inception in 1950.

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He is hoping his latest success earlier this month sends a message to those planning to build on the North Oxford golf course, which is under threat from development.

He said: “There is good medical evidence that on average golfers live, fitter, longer and happier lives – and I’m probably a good example of that.

“I will do my best to be around playing golf for a few more years yet.

“However, our community-orientated golf course is currently under threat of development.

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“I appeal to all politicians who read this to consider whether even thinking of allowing building over a thriving course is remotely sensible at a time when the NHS is under pressure from so many diseases resulting from poor lifestyle.”

In July campaigners hit out after a plan for more than 4,000 new homes on Oxford’s Green Belt that will cause ‘wanton destruction’ was given official backing.

Cherwell District Council wants to build 4,400 homes on sites north of Oxford to meet housing demand the city council claims it cannot meet, but campaigners are strongly opposed to the plans.

Oxford Mail:

Many complained pockets of land will be ruined for residents, including spots around Kidlington, Begbroke and Yarnton and the North Oxford Golf Club.

Club members have been fighting a plan to sell the land, off Banbury Road, for up to 1,200 homes – but now a planning inspector has said he is happy to support housing there.

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A member of GreenWay – a group of golfers who oppose the club’s sale for housing – said he was ‘horrified’ planning inspector Paul Griffiths had given his backing to to Cherwell’s housing plan.

Oxford Mail:

The inspector said that while he was left in ‘no doubt’ that the golf club was a ‘much-valued facility... the site it occupies is an excellent one for the sort of housing the plan proposes, given its location so close to Oxford Parkway, with its park-and-ride, and its proximity to the centre of Oxford’.

David Young, a member of GreenWay, said earlier he found Mr Griffiths’ comments ‘very concerning’.

The former director of environmental services at the county council, who plays golf with Mr Benford, said: “GreenWay’s view remains that the exceptional circumstances to take land out of the Green Belt cannot possibly be demonstrated, that building on the golf course site would be wanton destruction and will adversely affect the health and wellbeing of the wider community.”