Posted by: westlancashirerecord | June 8, 2016

Parched Beacon Park Golf Course

According to a group of senior golfers at Beacon Park Golf Course the greens there have not been watered for at least two weeks, and the dry period is now said to be ruining them. The golfers asked why watering had not been allowed and have been told by the course management that if it does not rain by Thursday they can then be watered. The senior golfers have tried to organise members to turn up with watering cans but it beggars belief that cans of water should be carried around the course green to greenbeaconsprinkler  or perhaps this sprinkler? So I wrote to Cabinet Member for Leisure Cllr Yvonne Gagen to ask for information about the watering of greens at the course.

I asked “Would you be kind enough to let me have, if necessary under Freedom of Information Act, the watering records at the course greens for the last three months, up to and including Tuesday 7 June 2016? If this is a matter of spending restrictions would you be kind enough to let me know of any reports to WLBC Leisure Services about it?”

I also suggested that some of her Cabinet and council colleagues who represent Skelmersdale wards may wish to attend the golf course to see for themselves what is happening there.

Having been there myself today I’m astonished by what I saw, parched grass baregreenbaregreen3While there is obviously no watering of greens taking place, the pictures prove that, but at the old driving range site where wagon loads of landfill are still arriving a member of staff was hosing the dust around the wagons Beaconhose. Two wagons today were from Kirkby Skips kirbyskip1, and a third unmarked, all in the space of five minutes.

While I walked the course taking photographs I became aware I was being closely followed by one of the sit-on grass cutters from green to green. Eventually the driver stopped me and asked me what I was doing there. I told him I was walking the course. He demanded to know who I was and said he knew I was taking photographs of the course. He wanted to know who they were for and who was I sending them to. I explained they were my own photographs for myself as part of my history of the course [WLR is already a recent history of the course]. As he became more angry I explained I was a resident and council tax payer in the borough that owns the golf course and had every right to be there walking and or taking photographs. He still demanded my name so I told him it was John Smith and I walked away from him. He revved up his grass machine and drove away mrnastyman [click all pics to enlarge] He didn’t hear me say good-day Mr Nasty! And he didn’t stop to ask a walker with an Alsatian dog what HE was doing there either!

It should be obvious to anyone that this behaviour from an employee of either Serco Leisure Services, or West Lancashire Leisure Trust, or Oakland Golf And Leisure Ltd, is unacceptable. What do they have to hide? It is widely known that thousands of wagon loads of authorised demolition dustylorry and other developers’ rubble and waste materials are being dumped there. They got planning permission for it. It is blindingly obvious the height of all the work far exceeds the planning permission limits. And it is blindingly obvious nobody at the WLBC cares one iota about the state of the course.

The incident with Mr Nasty is indicative that money is what lies at the heart of it all. Landfill was explained as the reason for these developments. In a widely known email of 10 February 2011 Mark Prosser Director of DCT Leisure Ltd wrote to golfers summarising the viability for improvements to the facilities at Beacon Park Golf Course, including development of a new 9 hole junior academy par 3 course on spare land formerly used for a driving range, plus improvements to the existing driving range. Mr Prosser raises the issue of previous discussions about developers excavating sites needing somewhere to put what they did and paying for someone to take it, ie landfill. After which Mr Prosser notified WLBC of operational losses and shortly after he relinquished the DCT Leisure Ltd lease and contract. It is at that time the 4 Beacon Park Golf Course committee files were sealed forever from the public, leaving the stench of secrecy behind. And then onto the golf course there came Serco Leisure Services, West Lancashire Leisure Trust, and Oakland Golf And Leisure Ltd. How many £millions lost to council tax payers?

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