In January 2017 WLBC was claiming that “The existing operational leisure services agreement and the relationship between West Lancashire Community Leisure Limited (a registered charity) the operating partner Serco Leisure Operating Limited and the agreements between WLBC and Serco Leisure Operating limited for maintenance and Serco Paisa for capital investment have proved beneficial for the Authority”.
That was included in the “WLBC Labour Cabinet 10 January 2017 Report of: Director of Leisure and Wellbeing. Relevant Portfolio Holder: Councillor Y Gagen. Contact for further information: John Nelson, the Subject: New Leisure Facilities And Procurement Of Leisure Partnership.
“The Council at its meeting on the 24 February 2016 agreed to the adoption of new Leisure and Playing Pitch Strategies for the Council. The first key action is for the establishment of a project team:- Establish a Project Team led by the Deputy Director of Leisure and Wellbeing with representatives from Finance and Legal, supported by the Procurement Executive with an external Specialist Adviser to undertake the procurement of a new partnership arrangement from 1 April 2020 which would include significant capital investment for the built sports provision as outlined in (a) to (d) below, including options for securing capital investment.
“7.7 The existing operational leisure services agreement and the relationship between West Lancashire Community Leisure Limited (a registered charity) the operating partner Serco Leisure Operating Limited and the agreements between WLBC and Serco Leisure Operating limited for maintenance and Serco Paisa for capital investment have proved beneficial for the Authority. The current arrangements were agreed in 2004 and since then other types of operational partnership structures have been formed and should be considered. A new type of management arrangement and or variations of the current agreement may provide additional benefits and opportunities.
“7.8 Members of the Cabinet Working Group were advised of the current relationship with Beacon Park golf course, which was added to the operational leisure services agreement in 2012”.
However, following years of approved landfill dumping on parts of the Beacon Park Golf Course, involving the accrual of undisclosed “royalties”, and breaches of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (As Amended) a Breach of Notice Reference E/2015/0223/BCN was issued to Serco Leisure Operating Limited by the Borough Solicitor dated 16 May 2018. The relevant planning permission relates to 2016/0040/FUL for the “Variation of Condition 7 imposed on planning permission 2011/0787/FUL to read ”The development shall take place in accordance with the Coal Mining Risk Assessment Addendum Report produced by WSP dated November 2015” Condition 1 (A map).
“The WLBC Solicitor requires Serco Operating Leisure Limited to “Remove all excess material placed on the land hatched black on Attached Plan 2 dated 11 May 2018 to provide the land profile as defined by Sections M-M, N-N, and O-O and contoured site plan all shown on plan reference 1115.14 received by the Local Planning Authority on 13 July 2011”.
In simple terms the regular and ongoing public warnings that Beacon Park Golf Course was being used against planning conditions to create untold wealth, by payments of “landfill royalties” on the WLBC owned land, but not paid to benefit council tax payers have been proved correct. Perhaps justice is being applied?
The details of the Order can be read here