Posted by: westlancashirerecord | March 10, 2018

The Changed Face Of The Beacon Park Golf Course Facilities

Seeing these wonderful views of parts of the Beacon Park Golf Course you might be wondering what all the fuss is about in respect of the great landfill rip-off. Taken from a drone, they show the 9hole heap covered mainly by weeds and clover and the shambles that purports to be a footgolf course .

But down below, all is different , so bad that “re-profiling” will have to be done . Today, and every day, the Beacon Park Golf Centre website claims it has “a range of facilities offering an excellent choice of golfing activities, a clubhouse and free parking. Play a round on our 18 hole Par 72 course, practice your swing in one of the 22 floodlit under cover driving range bays, putt the balls home on the practice putting green or improve your exit chip out of the bunker. There is something for everyone. We offer a golf club loan service and baskets of balls for the driving range”.

And, as we report regularly, there is not 1 floodlit under cover driving range bay, never mind the 22 claimed. Nor are there golf clubs for loan or baskets of balls for the invisible, under landfill, driving range. So why is the leisure services conglomerate of West Lancashire Borough Council/West Lancashire Community Leisure Limited (a registered charity)/Serco Leisure Operating Limited frightened of the truth ? Beacon Park Golf Course was added to the operational leisure services agreement in 2012. It’s been a disaster ever since.

But again, all is not lost, as some cheap “driving cages” are being prepared . These can be 10ft x 10ft x 10ft portable  freestanding golf cages with 42mm thick galvanised steel. A double bay shown above with archery impact panel net grade costs a mere £1,119.99, although there are some much cheaper! That’s a smidgeon of the royalties from 23,375 HGV loads of landfill each of 8m3 per delivery.

In its Playing Pitch Strategy Assessment Report 2015 golf was merely referred to as being included in “other sports”. “Beacon Park, worth circa £2,000,000 on the borough asset list a year or two ago is an 18 hole golf course complete with driving range. The range is due to close during 2015. Serco has plans to develop the leisure offering at the site and an outdoor pursuits and paintballing facility is to take its place. Members of Beacon Park Golf Course are primarily concentrated in the Skelmersdale area”.

Perhaps the very fact of its members being “primarily concentrated in the Skelmersdale area” tells us why a lack of interest and priority to improve the appalling mess, now admittedly requiring “re-profiling”, remains Borough policy?

Readers might conclude that a secret society runs the Leisure Contract? My most recent Freedom of Information Act 2000 request about Beacon Park Golf Course was treated with disdain by WLBC Leisure Services. It stated “With regard to the practice of maintaining minuted records of meetings with Serco, I can confirm that frequent meetings and conversations take place between the Council and its numerous partners on a daily basis, which are not formally recorded in minutes. Furthermore, it is not possible, necessary or cost effective for all such conversations and meetings to be so recorded. However, where it is necessary to record minutes of a meeting this will be done and upon request (subject to the legal compliant non-disclosure) will be made available to the public”.

In conclusion, apparently, the Deputy Director Leisure & Wellbeing wrote “Your comments are noted, however as previously explained there are no recorded minutes. With regard to your question relating to the financial position, I can confirm that details relating to the financial performance of the West Lancashire Community Leisure Trust and Serco are already in the public domain via https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/
“With regards to the satisfactory completion of the development work at Beacon Country Park, as you are already aware, the Council has requested that Serco and their partners Oakland’s carry out additional profiling work. I am satisfied that the Council has assisted you with your enquiries on this subject and I now consider this matter closed”.

Well, the matter isn’t closed at all. While it is true that financial performances of such companies are in the public domain the companies do not have a discrete section relating to the financial details of the Beacon Park Golf Course. How convenient is it of WLBC to put a smokescreen around the location of what is a huge amount of public money that’s not benefitting golfers as it should.


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