A pitch and putt golf course could become the home of a different kind of birdy after a council gave their support to an alternative use for the site.

Brighton and Hove City Council environment committee is expected to give its approval to plans by Beacon Hill Nature Reserve to turn the former Rottingdean Pitch and Putt course into a nature reserve.

Councillors are expected to grant the environmental group the site rent-free for seven years as they bid to turn the former course into a “gateway” to the South Downs National Park.

The site had previously yielded the council an income of almost £50,000 but has been vacant since March 2012 and has been a target for squatters.

Security costs to protect the site cost the council more than £8,000 a year.

A new council report said there was “no viable commercial interest in the site” with negotiations with interested parties failing on two previous occasions.

Beacon Hill Nature Reserve are hoping that they will eventually turn the golf course building into a “more usable educational space” in the future but would need to secure planning permission and approximately £120,000 through grants.

A report to the council committee which will be discussed next Tuesday says the Friends of Beacon Hill have secured £25,000 of private funding to help establish the project, subject to a minimum lease of seven years.

Councillor Pete West, chair of the committee, said: "The Friends of Beacon Hill have come up with a proposal to put the site to good use for local people and the wider community.

"We are keen to get the kiosk building back into use, while it has been empty it has become a target for vandals and squatters, which means we are currently paying for security on the site."