Two Wirral golf courses set to close due to budgeting crisis

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir January 10, 2022 11:38

Two popular municipal golf courses may be closed down due to a budgeting crisis within Wirral Council, according to the Liverpool Echo.

The paper reports that Brackenwood Golf Course and Hoylake Municipal are set to close, in order to save the local authority £328,000.

The council has four municipal golf courses and in 2019 discussed and then abandoned plans to privatise two of them.

In 2020 it then discussed closing three of them: Brackenwood, along with Arrowe Park and The Warren.

However, last year the council scrapped the plan, saving the three venues.

Just a few months later though, it emerged that the council was considering converting Brackenwood into an ‘eco park’, even though membership there had increased by 55 percent in just a few months.

Now Wirral Council has said it needs to save £27 million and will close a number of public services, including a leisure centre and several libraries and public toilets, and raise charges for garden waste bin subscriptions and end grass cutting in some parks.

The list of proposed cuts have been drawn up due to the authority’s perilous financial position, however they are not set in stone yet and will go through several committees where they can be changed or scrapped altogether.

Brackenwood Golf Course. Image from Facebook

Cllr Janette Williamson, the Labour leader of Wirral Council, said: “In Wirral we have worked hard to protect those services which we know people value – and we will continue to do so – but we have now reached a point where we also must accept the authority cannot continue to try to deliver the same services that it was funded to provide a decade ago.

“Put simply we have substantially less money coming into the council and must find a way to deliver the services people want and need, but to do so within our means.”

Wirral Council has been told it must make the £27 million in savings after two damning government reports into it, published in November 2021, said the authority’s emergency reserves had been dramatically reduced in recent years and savings needed to be made.

The two reports, one on finance carried out by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), and another on governance by Ada Burns, included strong criticism of elected councillors and officers.

They stated that the ‘prevailing culture’ at the council prior to the pandemic had been to avoid difficult financial decisions.

Cllr Tom Anderson, leader of Wirral’s Conservative councillors, said: “The two independent reports into Wirral Council’s finances and governance were shocking.

“This sorry saga lasted over a decade. While other councils have focused on local services and transformed the way they are run, the Labour cabinet were obsessed on their vanity projects.

“These included £26 million for a golf resort.

“Last year Wirral had to go cap in hand to government for a bail out of nearly £15 million.”

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir January 10, 2022 11:38
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2 Comments

  1. Tommy8 January 23, 19:28

    Membership up 55% with the trend looking better than that for golf courses. It doesn’t make sense to close the course. Private management with clear separation from council meddling is what is needed.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Stephanie January 10, 19:27

    How many diversity officers does Wirral Council employ on more than £50k to £200k per year? How much is it spending on its green agenda? How much is it giving to hotels to house asylum seekers? They should be the first cutbacks if you overspend

    Reply to this comment
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