The Town Hall’s controversial plan to privatise the running of municipal golf courses at Arrowe Park and The Warrens in Wallasey has been dropped, following an outcry from course users and local Conservative councillors.
In June, the Labour Cabinet announced they would transfer the running of the two courses to private companies, leaving the future of the other two courses – Brackenwood and Hoylake – in doubt.
Following concerns raised by the clubs at all four courses that they had not been consulted, Conservative Councillors, led by the then chair of the Environment Committee, Cllr. Chris Blakeley, called in the decision to enable scrutiny of some of the reasons given for the plan.
Councillors challenged the lack of financial detail in the Cabinet’s plan and, following visits to all four courses and meetings with club members, recommended that the Cabinet think again.
Today, it was confirmed that the plan will be dropped. Instead, a three point plan for the future of all four courses has been agreed:
- A ground survey of all four courses, to be followed by a phased capital investment over the next eight years
- The freeze on new maintenance equipment be lifted
- A consultative group with course players and clubs be established
The new Chair of the Environment Committee, Cllr. Tom Anderson, said: “I would like to thank the Cabinet Member for listening to the concerns of the clubs and for having the bottle to admit the previous plan was misguided.
“It was clear that all four courses have great potential to attract additional players, at reasonable cost, meaning the sport continues to be available to the many, not the few.
“I look forward to working with the clubs and the Cabinet Member to make sure the additional investment we have requested is well-spent and that the future of the four courses is protected for years to come.”
Councillor Ian Lewis added: "From the first time that Lesley, Paul and I met with the players at The Warren, it was clear the Council's plan was, at best, misguided and the proposed savings didn't stack up.
"Since then, the clubs have worked to show the Town Hall how the four courses could be better run and attract additional players in the future."