A ROW about access to a golf course has come to blows, it was claimed this week.
Walkers and golfers are at loggerheads about a footbridge leading to the fair- ways of Hounslow Heath Golf Club, with one club member claiming he has been punched in the face.
The small crossing over the River Crane, in Feltham, mysteriously disap- peared last autumn, with neither the golf club nor Hounslow Council officials admitting responsibility.
Dog walkers from the nearby Sparrow Farm estate are campaigning to have it restored and recognised as an official right of way; the council's executive member for environment, Corinna Smart, has backed their appeal.
However, club members said this week they were glad to see the back of the bridge, which they claim is a danger to walkers and golfers. One member, Rob O'Brien, said he had been punched in the face following a run-in with a dog walker last September, shortly before the bridge was removed. He said he suffered a black eye and a chipped tooth.
The Chronicle understands no charges were pressed.
The bridge does not appear on any maps but walkers say it has been used for at least 30 years without any objections, making it a presumed right of way.
However, club committee member David Griffin insists the bridge is both unnecessary and a danger to people who were using it.
"The bridge was used by maybe three or four dog walkers a day, but it doesn't lead anywhere and there's another cross- ing a few hundred yards along the river, which is part of the London Loop. There's also a blind tee shot on the holes next to the old bridge, so anyone using it was putting their own safety in danger."
Mr Griffin said youngsters would drive their mini-motorbikes over the bridge and on to the course, destroying greens and fairways.
He also said it was used by drunks and vagrants, who behaved so aggressively towards members that children had to be banned from playing the 15th and 16th holes unaccompanied.
However, Ranjit Gill, chairman of the Friends of Hounslow Heath, said: "The bridge was there long before the golf club. People have been using it for well over 20 years." contributed