Hoylake Golf Resort
Decision Maker: Cabinet
Decision status: Item Called In
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
Councillor Phil Davies, Leader of the Council - Strategic Economic Development,
Finance and Devolution, said:
‘Hoylake Golf Resort promises to be an iconic international project bringing new jobs, prosperity and tourists to Wirral, boosting our economy and visitor numbers. Tourism is an important part of our growth plan, and supports our pledges around a vibrant economy and jobs.
This report will take our plans nearer reality by consulting a range of commercial, technical and legal experts who can help us draw up a blueprint and a process for moving forward.
I would like to reassure residents and all other interested parties that we will be continuing to consult and talk to people who live in Wirral, to make sure that we are all move forward as partners in delivering these plans.’
Councillor George Davies introduced a report, in Councillor Phil Davies’ absence that informed that following the selection of the Nicklaus Joint Venture Group (NJVG) as the Council’s Preferred Development Partner, detailed discussions had taken place to conclude a Development Agreement to take the Hoylake Golf Resort project forward to the Funding and Viability stage.
The report provided an update for Members on progress, outlined an indicative timetable for moving forward and sought approval to sign the Framework Development Agreement and formally close the Competitive Dialogue Procurement process. It also requested approval of an additional fee and works budget of £595,969 to allow essential expertise to be retained to advise the Council on a range of commercial, technical and legal aspects of the proposed development. The previous fee budget of £237,000 had been expended. Members noted that it was also necessary to undertake geotechnical investigations of the Council’s owned former landfill site at Greenbank Road to ensure that it could be safely used as a golf course. The total cost of these investigations, including specialist supervision and the ground work itself, was £252,469 and was included in the total reported above (£565,969). Members were asked to endorse the Council entering into the Framework Development Agreement (FDA). The signing of the Agreement would allow the NJVG to work up a comprehensive Funding Strategy for future Council approval that it was envisaged would trigger the preparation of a full planning application.
The Hoylake Golf Resort project supported the business category of the 2020 pledges and, in particular, the priority to create a vibrant tourism economy. It also linked to the Council’s priorities to increase inward investment and create greater job opportunities in Wirral. The report was of greatest relevance to the Hoylake and Meols Ward but it was noted that the wider economic impacts would have implications for all wards.
Further detail of the Framework Development Agreement provisions was appended to the report together with an assessment of the implications of signing the FDA and the protection measures in place to protect the Council. This appendix was exempt from publication under Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 due to the commercial sensitivities of that information. (Minute No. 61 refers.)
Councillor Ann McLachlan informed that the Cabinet was under no illusions about the financial situation the Council was in. This money was being spent as a long term future investment and it was in accordance with the Council’s pledges around homes, jobs and health and wellbeing. Wirral would be the only Council in the Country to have a Nicklaus Golf Course. The scheme had been well thought out and costed and the NJVG would have to show significant cost commitment. This was a most appropriate and right way forward with the scheme and it was an ambitious approach for the site.
(1) the signing of the Framework Development Agreement under the terms reported and the formal closing of the Competitive Dialogue procurement process be authorised;
(2) the decision on the appropriation of the land required for the purposes of the golf resort for planning purposes under Section 237 Town and Country Planning Act 1990 be deferred to a future meeting;
(3) a new fee and site investigation works budget of £595,969 to take the project forward as set out in the report be agreed;
(4) a geo-technical Site Investigation of the former landfill site as Greenbank Road owned by the Council be undertaken as well as the necessary works required to ensure that the land is suitable for use as a golf resort; and
(5) once the Funding Strategy has been submitted by the NJVG and assessed by the Council, a further report be presented to the Cabinet for consideration.
Publication date: 16/11/2016
Date of decision: 07/11/2016
Decided at meeting: 07/11/2016 - Cabinet
Issue status: The decision is currently being reconsidered
This decision has been called in by:
- Councillor Chris Blakeley who writes CALL-IN Decision of Cabinet to be called in: Date of meeting Monday 7th November 2016 Minute number Cabinet Minutes 55 and 61 Subject Hoylake Golf Resort Reason(s) for call-in: The signatories to this Call-in are deeply concerned that, by agreeing to the confidential Framework Development Agreement (‘FDA’), the Council is effectively committing to a ‘done-deal’, with no clear exit strategy should the proposal prove not to be viable or financially and environmentally sustainable. We are also disappointed that this project has never been subject to full debate by Council, so that other issues such as the impact of traffic, wildlife, flora and fauna, and effects on Wirral’s Green Belt can be fully explored; together with the alleged economic benefits to local people and to Wirral as a whole. We believe signing the FDA renders any further consultation, prior to a formal planning application, as meaningless, contrary to the Council Leader’s reassurance to local residents and all other interested parties that ‘we will be continuing to consult and talk to people who live in Wirral, to make sure that we all move forward as partners in delivering these plans.’ Furthermore, to date £237,000 of Council Taxpayers’ hard-earned cash has been spent. To commit an additional £595,969, with the potential for further escalating costs, at a time when vital council services and jobs are being reduced, suggests that the Cabinet’s priorities are misplaced, while exposing the Council to further risk We believe that a matter as important as this should be looked at in greater depth and detail in order to ensure adequate safeguards are in place to protect the Council Taxpayers of Wirral Called in by: Councillors: Chris Blakeley Bruce Berry Eddie Boult David Burgess-Joyce David Elderton Gerry Ellis John Hale Paul Hayes Andrew Hodson Kathy Hodson Ian Lewis Tracey Pilgrim Cherry Povall Lesley Rennie Les Rowlands Adam Sykes Geoffrey Watt Steve Williams "