Elemore GC could close due to council cuts

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir October 31, 2011 20:48

Elemore GC could close due to council cuts

The last remaining municipal golf course in Sunderland may close after its local council announced plans to withdraw funding for it.

Elemore Golf Club, which employs nine people, is to have £75,000 per year of funding withdrawn by Sunderland City Council, which is having to find £58 million of savings.

Councillor Mel Speding, cabinet secretary at Sunderland City Council, explained the decision to stop the funding.

He said: “The council doesn’t have a provision in its budget to subsidise the golf course and never has done.

“As part of the original agreement which commenced in 1997, the council received an annual income from the current course operator, Golf Course Management Limited [GCML], in return for operating the course.

“Due to the economic downturn, supply currently exceeds demand, so the council has been in a position to waive this and put temporary arrangements in place to continue operating the course while it considered options for its future.

“This is simply not sustainable though. For this reason we have advertised nationally the opportunity to run the golf course at nil cost to the council. Regrettably we didn’t receive bids from any golf course operators, including the current operators GCML.”

The council has therefore offered ownership of the club to its members, and they are currently drawing up a business plan to be unveiled at a public meeting at the end of November, to be held in the clubhouse.

Member Peter Carr said: “At the moment the golf course has been offered to us to try and keep it open.

“Our members are agreed that we should put together a business plan to make Elemore more of a community golf club and get the community involved.

“The members are actually quite positive about the future of the golf club.”

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir October 31, 2011 20:48
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