Posted by: westlancashirerecord | November 24, 2016

The Lady In The Landfill

By now everybody knows about the financial killing being made from the massive landfill operation by Serco Leisure Operating Services and Oakland Golf and Leisure Ltd at the Beacon Park Golf Course. But did WLR find evidence of another “killing” there? While gathering photographic evidence about the “conversion” of the driving range into an improbable foot golf facility this image 012 [click to enlarge] appeared. Was it a body disposed of and disturbed by the slippage off the mountainous terrain now created there? Fear not, with the expert help of our local police service we have established the development is not a crime scene. The lady in the landfill is an unwanted mannequin disposed of there. Which is just as well, given the amount of landfill that would need to be removed to find the body.

Reverting back to the financial killing, that was all arranged under the contract agreement for the management of the Golf Course between West Lancashire Borough Council and West Lancashire Community Leisure Ltd. The agreement is to the 31st March 2020. The Borough Council states it does not have a direct contractual agreement with Serco Leisure Operating Limited for the operation of the Beacon Golf Course. West Lancashire Community Leisure Ltd is a not for profit company trust organisation (Non Profit Distributing Organisation or NPDO). They have an operating partner, Serco Leisure Operating Limited that manages the day to day operations of the golf course.

WLBC stated “The royalties for the materials being brought to site and currently used to re-profile an area of the golf course for a new 9Hole par 3 course are paid to West Lancashire Community Leisure. Details of the royalties and payments are commercially confidential. Serco Leisure Operating Limited are responsible for monitoring the contracted works and are responsible to ensure that the finished work provides the new 9 hole facility and that any royalties received are spent on the Beacon Golf Course, including the club house and associated facilities. Serco Leisure Operating Limited is not able to take any of the royalties as a profit or to charge any management fee for the supervision of the contacted works. All the royalties received are to be spent directly on the golf course and associated facilities”. But as we now know the Leisure Trust did not receive into its legal accounts any of these “contracted” royalties. Serco Leisure Operating Ltd took them. That’s breach of contract that WLBC is now aware of but seemingly unconcerned by it.

“West Lancashire Community Leisure accepted the responsibility to operate the Golf Course and with assurances and indemnities provided by Serco Leisure Operating Limited agreed to manage the golf course until 31st March 2020. There are no restrictions placed on the operation other than the golf course needs to remain operational and provide a service as a pay and play facility. An initial temporary period of management commenced on the1st January 2012 with West Lancashire Community Leisure for a period of twelve months in order to evaluate the operation and determine if it was sustainable in the future. West Lancashire Community Leisure agreed in January 2013 to take on the responsibility for the Beacon Golf Course and agreed a business plan with Serco Leisure Operating Limited, this provided for a surplus to be made after a period of service review and redevelopment.

“The surplus provision allows for one third shares, one third to the Borough Council, one third to West Lancashire Community Leisure, and one third to Serco Leisure Operating Limited. It is not expected that any surplus will be made until 2017/18. What optimism! Is there a market for clover? 022

“The operation of the golf course is subject to the scrutiny of the Board of Trustees for West Lancashire Community Leisure. The remodelling works which are supported by the planning application were part of a business plan from Serco Leisure Operating Limited and the assessment for the Trustees in taking on the responsibility for the golf course. The operation of the golf course has to be sustainable as the Borough Council does not provide any revenue or capital subsidy to the operation. The new 9Hole par 3 Course will generate additional income and importantly bring more junior golfers to the club”.

This last statement is a fallacy. There is nothing in the planning application that authorises remodelling in the way it now appears. By the secrecy of the “Commercial in Confidence” policy Serco Leisure Operating Services has not disclosed a business plan for public scrutiny. The accounts of Oakland Golf and Leisure Ltd are published in a form that excludes its sources of income. Suffice to know the shareholders’ funds that were £2,230 in 2013, were £17,979 in 2014, and £318,539 in 2015 and THAT’S a killing by any description!

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