Golf club’s changing room could be turned into a brewery

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 21, 2016 14:27

A golf club in Wigan could have its changing room and toilets converted into a micro-brewery, and its pro shop turned into a visitor centre, amid plans drawn up by the local council.

However, members at municipal Haigh Hall Golf Club are opposed to the proposals and have argued that they could be in breach of a 21-year agreement with Sport England signed in 1999 in which £2.2 million was awarded for an overhaul of courses and other golf facilities.

VLUU L310 W  / Samsung L310 W

Haigh Hall

According to the Sunderland Echo, they believe that ‘ny changes to what the organisation helped paid for needs permission from Sport England until 2020 when a 21-year asset liability agreement expires. Pressing ahead regardless could see the trust having to hand some of the money back.’

Haigh Hall is a historic country house owned by Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust which later this year will become home to a number of food and drink-related establishments. It will incorporate a baker, delicatessen, butcher, cheese-maker, chocolatier, ice cream parlour, new restaurant and tea room, and hopes to welcome more than 150,000 food tourists each year. The micro-brewery was earmarked as the anchor tenant and the council said that this would ultimately improve facilities for golfers.

But some club members are not convinced, especially as an alternative to the current changing room set up has not yet been agreed.

One, Malcolm Jukes, said: “It is just not on. They have not consulted the golfers at all on this.

“I have no problem with all the food and drink stuff at Haigh Hall. I just don’t think it should be at the expense of our facilities. The most annoying thing is the men’s and women’s changing rooms are being taken away to be turned into a micro-brewery. The alternative thereafter will be going to the urinals around the other side of the Stables near the playground, but that is nowhere near good enough, not least because there isn’t any privacy or any lockers to store clothes.

haigh hall golf plattbridger

Haigh Hall Golf Club. Flickr / plattbridger

“The trust say they will look at alternative changing facilities in the longer run but they should be providing them before they close the old ones.

“This is going to be a big deterrent to people coming to play golf at Haigh and I really do think that the trust could be in bother with Sport England who gave them money in good faith to spend on golf facilities in 1999 on the understanding they were used in that way for at least 21 years unless permission was granted by Sport England.

“I have been corresponding with Sport England and this permission has not been granted and yet the trust is going full steam ahead with the project.”

Sport England spokesman Andrew St Ledger said: “We have been made aware of these changes that are being talked about at Haigh Hall, therefore we are currently speaking to the council to get more information about that.

“We need to seek further information before we decide what to do about it.

“When we award funding, especially when there is a facilities element, there are contract terms that dictate a minimum time period for use. That is typically 21 years. We need to look at that in detail in relation to golf at Haigh Hall.”

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy has also become involved, writing to Pete Burt, chief executive of Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles – the new name of Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust which runs the council’s leisure facilities – seeking reassurances that the Haigh Hall Golf Club members would not lose out.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 21, 2016 14:27
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