Council discussed converting ‘thriving’ golf course into ‘eco park’

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir October 5, 2021 08:11

A Merseyside council is facing a backlash after it emerged that it has discussed closing down a golf course that has seen a large increase in membership in recent months in order to convert it into an ‘eco park’.

It has been reported in the local press that Wirral Council councillor Jerry Williams has revealed that officials have put forward a plan to close Brackenwood Golf Course.

Membership has increased by 55 percent at the club in just the last few months, which in turn is bringing in revenue for the council, which had previously discussed closing the course because it was, prior to the pandemic, costing it money when the council has a £16.5 million shortfall in its budget.

Williams said: “Officers suggested a cut to the number of courses, saying we need to cut one course [Brackenwood] completely.

“I appreciate that difficult decisions have to be made, but this is absolute lunacy. The membership is massively increasing. It is a thriving club in the best state it’s ever been in.

“We need to have a realistic approach [to the eco park idea]. How much will it cost to run?

“What about possible landscaping costs on top of that. Who will run it, at what cost?”

Brackenwood’s club secretary, Keith Marsh, said he was also outraged by the news.

Brackenwood Golf Course. Image from Facebook

“This has come out of the blue when the number of people playing at the course has gone through the roof,” he said.

“In the [second quarter] of this year the number of players has increased, and the club’s gone from strength to strength since it reopened in March, with membership numbers up by 55 percent.

“It is in the best condition it’s been in for many, many years and that goes hand in hand with many people playing it.

“We’re absolutely furious, we feel like we’ve been led up the garden path by officers.

“It seems like a knee jerk reaction, not even 12 months ago we were looking at a future for golf, it’s infuriating, pathetic.

“A lot of members can’t afford a £1,000 plus fee to go to a private club, it will force a lot of people to go elsewhere or give up the game. It seems like a crazy idea.”

He added that an ‘eco park’ is a euphemism for the council leaving the area unmaintained, which will ultimately result in having housing built on it.

“When the council says an eco park, they will leave it and ‘rewild’ it so they don’t have to cut it and save money. It will go to wreck and ruin and the council will say they’re rewilding it.

“We’ll get fly tipping, people will say they’re sick of it and then over time we’ll have houses on it.”

Helen Cameron, chair of the council’s leisure committee, said: “This was a private workshop to allow a group of Wirral Council’s elected members and officers to generate and discuss ideas around the future long-term sustainability of the whole municipal golf service in Wirral. It was not a meeting to consider any recommendations or decisions, nor to solely discuss Brackenwood Golf Course.

“As elected members we have a responsibility to examine any and all potential ideas in order to make informed decisions when the time comes.

“In general, this is how any strategic process works. In this case, there is still a lot of work to do before we even see fully-formed options put forward for consultation and consideration, let alone make a decision.”

The course is one of four public golf courses in Wirral. Last year the council had discussed closing three of them in order to save £180,000, but in the end the proposal was dropped.

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir October 5, 2021 08:11
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2 Comments

  1. Cosmic Driving Range October 6, 10:58

    Yes that makes a ton of sense converting from Cash positive to a cash drain – typical Marxist mentality. We have the same stupidity in the US.

    Reply to this comment
  2. JDavies October 5, 20:57

    We need an Action Group and a Fund to Fight these unscrupulous councils to Protect Municipal Golf Courses which are seriously under threat!

    Reply to this comment
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