Fires ‘deliberately’ started at golf course

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir July 25, 2022 11:06

A golf course that has its future up in the air has suffered a spate of seemingly deliberately-started fires during the recent heatwave in the UK.

Brackenwood Golf Club, in Wirral, along with Hoylake Municipal, closed in April when Wirral Council withdrew its funding for the two courses due to its own financial crisis.

While there has been interest in saving both venues, and the council has allowed them to be part of a community asset transfer scheme, Brackenwood in particular has suffered vandalism and has even had a bomb detonated on it.

Brackenwood Golf Club. Image from Facebook

Now the club has revealed that a number of fires have been started at Brackenwood over the last two months, especially during the recent UK heatwave.

On July 16 fire crews were called out to deal with a blaze on the course, with a group of young people believed to be the perpetrators.

Keith Marsh, secretary of the men’s section at the club, said: “It looked like teenagers who started it. They scarpered off when they saw people coming toward them. The fire brigade were in attendance and managed to put it out but it’s concerning for us because the grass is so dry and we want to make sure that no one gets hurt.

“There’s an awful lot of people walking dogs on the course so we’re concerned about keeping people safe. We’ve had quite a few fires on and around the course since it closed, which is something we worried would happen if no one was looking after it.

“Members are going on and patrolling the course and trying to do their best but it’s easy to start fires when no one’s around. We’ve had quite a lot of litter around the course as well which, judging by the content, is likely to be from kids. We want kids to go on and use it for leisure and recreation.”

He added: “It’s really annoying. We try not to let it get to us but the vast majority of members are volunteering their time and taking time away from their families to keep a local amenity in order. At the moment, none of us can play golf on it but we’re doing it in the hope it will eventually come back and also for the local community to use.

“It’s just complete vandalism. Without the quick action of the fire service, the damage could have been an awful lot more. From our point of view, and I’m sure from their point of view, it’s frustrating that they’re being called out to silly little fires on a golf course.

“There might not be any threat to life, but it might mean that they can’t go to a more serious shout which is something I don’t think whoever is starting these fires is appreciating.”

The future of Brackenwood will be decided by councillors at a meeting in October.

Brackenwood Golf Club. Image from Facebook

Keith said: “The Woosnam group has been fantastic with us. They’ve provided machinery for us to use and have provided staff who are going up a couple of times a week to do additional work and they’re paying for it all. They’re already putting a big investment in the course even though all they have is an approval to have a business plan in.

“There’s no guarantee that the Woosnam group will get it but they’re happy to invest just to save the golf course to make sure it doesn’t go to wrack and ruin and the community can still use it. The community is using it an awful lot which is exactly what we wanted because it’s so much more than just a golf course and has big community benefits beyond just people who play golf.”

Several other golf clubs, such as Retford Golf Club and Lickey Hills Golf Club, reported fires during the recent hot spell

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir July 25, 2022 11:06
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