£200m golf resort set to lose council funding

Tania Longmire
By Tania Longmire July 10, 2019 07:24

A project to build one of the world’s greatest golf resorts in Merseyside has been hit by the news that Wirral Council is set to pull its funding for the scheme.

Key members of the council have said they will no longer be looking to borrow £26m to support the development of a £200 million resort at Hoylake, which was due to be given the same ‘Celtic Manor Resort’ branding as the Wales venue which hosted the 2010 Ryder Cup.

The council had previously agreed to support the scheme and had already put together a £600,000 funding package for geotechnical surveys, reports Wirral Globe.

However, the council’s cabinet is now set to vote to pull its support, arguing its ‘investment profile and limited resources would be better served if this venture was funded on the open market, rather than through council borrowing. It is therefore recommended that cabinet do not enter into a separate agreement to fund the Celtic Manor project at this time.’

 

The project, including a Celtic Manor-branded hotel, spa, and conference facilities as well as a championship golf course and 18-hole range, is being brought forward by the Nicklaus Joint Venture Group. There is also an element of housing as part of the site; Story Homes was formerly attached, but has since been replaced by Redrow.

‘In what looks like dramatic change of direction, Labour members on Wirral Council’s Business Overview and Scrutiny Committee voted unanimously against funding the Celtic Manor Resort,’ reports the paper.

‘At a meeting held in private, Labour councillors on the committee put forward a recommendation to ‘not enter into a separate agreement to fund the Celtic Manor project at this time’.’

This follows a council motion six months ago that stated: ‘Given this gloomy assessment of current and future demand for golf facilities, council recognises that the proposed Celtic Manor development of Hoylake Golf Course looks increasingly unviable.

‘Council now concludes that the access to prudential borrowing of £26m agreed in December 2017 poses an unacceptable risk to public funds, is no longer tenable or appropriate, and therefore requests that the leader and cabinet end all further use of council taxpayers’ money to support this scheme.’

The scrutiny committee does not have decision-making powers but it is recommending that the council’s decision-making group should refuse to lend the money to the developers. The council’s minority Labour-controlled cabinet will decide whether or not to follow this advice in a meeting on July 8.

Tania Longmire
By Tania Longmire July 10, 2019 07:24
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