Issue - meetings

Review of Leisure, Libraries and Cultural Services Update - Golf

Meeting: 26/11/2018 - Cabinet (Item 34)

34 Review of Leisure, Libraries and Cultural Services - Golf Courses pdf icon PDF 125 KB

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Phill Brightmore

Councillor Phillip Brightmore, Cabinet Member - Leisure and Recreation, said:


Wirral is famous for its golf courses. Host of the Open Championship as recently as 2014, our borough gives residents and visitors unrivalled choice and quality for the sport.


We know our residents are proud of that, and we know they recognise the health and wellbeing benefits of this unique sport. That’s why we have maintained such a wide variety of golf options for so long, and why we do all we can to encourage people to be more active.


We believe we can do a better job. We believe running golf courses is not necessarily a job the council is right for, and we know there are specialist golf companies throughout the country who could provide a better service for our residents. Should this proposal be accepted by the Cabinet, then that is what we will look for.


We will not sell the courses. We will keep them in public ownership. Instead, we will look for an expert to come in and improve our golf courses. We will make them more efficient, better managed and higher quality”.


Councillor Phil Davies introduced a report by the Assistant Director – Community Services which informed that the Council provided extensive leisure, recreation, cultural, open space and library services.  The cost to the Council of delivering these services was £17 million, when income from external funding was taken into account.  The Council faced significant budget savings and needed to review how services could be delivered effectively whilst reducing costs, especially for discretionary services.


The Cabinet noted that over the past year the Council had undertaken a detailed review of its Leisure and Cultural Services to try and find ways of transforming them, to make them more sustainable, flexible and appropriate. The Council did not wish to be in a situation where it needed to consider closing or reducing services in order to balance its budget.


It was reported that the Council ran three 18 hole golf courses, one 9 nine hole golf course and two ‘fun courses’ (Pitch & Putt and Crazy Golf). The operational revenue cost of municipal golf in Wirral in the financial year (2018/19) was £255k (£430k if the current overspend was included).  The Cabinet noted that a number of reviews of Council golf provision had been undertaken in previous years which had identified the requirement for significant capital investment in courses in order that they remained playable. The Cabinet also noted that the current service model for this service was, therefore, financially unsustainable.


The Cabinet was informed that whilst the Council was working with Celtic Manor on developing options for the Hoylake Municipal Golf Course there were also opportunities to seek alternative providers for the remainder of the Council’s golf courses. A number of options for the future delivery of the golf courses had been considered as follows:


·  No change - retain golf courses ‘in house.’ Whilst the courses had been managed in house in the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34