There are renewed calls for the Wirral’s Cabinet to kill off plans to privatise two of the Borough’s golf courses, following further talks arranged by the new Chair of the Council’s Environment Committee, Councillor Tom Anderson.
This followed concerns that the suggested financial saving to the Council by transferring Arrowe Park and The Warren were ‘written on the back of an envelope’ and did not stand up when scrutinised.
Councillor Anderson said: “Since the decision to privatise these two courses was announced, many of the players and members of the clubs have made it clear that any new operator would pose a real danger to the long term future of the courses and that any so-called ‘saving’ to the council would never materialise.
“As a result, the Cabinet has put the decision temporarily on hold, but the evidence against the move is now overwhelming.
“It’s time to scrap the plan altogether and, instead, to use some of the Council’s money from asset sales to invest in the courses, increase the number of people using them and protect these valuable assets.”
“Had the Council consulted the clubs at all four courses prior to coming up with a privatisation plan, I suspect the decision would never have been made. I will be asking for the support of the Environment Committee to come up with a long term plan to invest in the four courses, to attract new players into the sport, in full consultation with the clubs based at all the courses.”
Hoylake Municipal Golf Course had been excluded from the original privatisation plan, following the decision of the previous Labour Cabinet to create an exclusive golf resort on the site, along with 160 luxury homes. Following the withdrawal of £26 million of council funding for that development, it is now hoped the existing course will remain as a council-maintained golf course, available for anyone to use.
Similarly, the course at Brackenwood in Bebington had been excluded from the plan but Labour had, instead, added it to their ‘Green Space Review’ to identify sites for housing.
Councillor Anderson added: “The courses at Hoylake and Brackenwood are not only much-loved local amenities they are also an important part of our Green Belt. Like the courses at Arrowe Park and The Warren, all four need a full investment programme to ensure their future.”