Posted by: westlancashirerecord | August 30, 2018

Latest News Of The 9Hole Heap Of Rubbish At Beacon Park Golf Course

The incessant rebuttals by WLBC of enquiries and complaints made about the 9Hole landfill could fill a book, but instead they continue to allow WLR to publicize the wretched saga of sheer incompetence and greed by third rate developers and leisure services providers. Today we can report the official status confirmed from Director level to a local resident, of the 9Hole  course to be as follows.

“RE: 9 Hole Golf Course development at Beacon Park Thank you for your letter dated 10 August 2018 regarding the 9 hole Golf Course development at Beacon Park. I can confirm that the opening of this facility has been delayed due to a number of factors including growing cycles, the time required to complete the initial land profiling and latterly reviewing the drainage situation. When the development was initially completed it was necessary to wait to assess the drainage situation and consequently a number of improvements have been identified as being required. Upon completion of this work a further full growing cycle will be required which could result in the 9 hole course being open in summer 2019, however this will be determined by the completion of the drainage work and the weather conditions. We apologise for the delay, however the 9 hole course will be a permanent feature and we are committed to ensuring its satisfactory completion prior to opening”.

Can any reader of that letter imagine the level of incompetence disclosed in those few sentences? Between them, WLBC, Serco Leisure Operating Limited, Oakland Golf and Leisure Ltd , and the West Lancashire Leisure Trust have dumped rubbish  there since, as officially stated “Contractors started on site in November 2013”. It’s taken almost five years to discover that these so called “golf course creators” had no idea if that heap would create a drainage problem. And it has! A “number of improvements have been identified as being required” rather than “We allowed developers to make a balls of the design of this heap of rubbish”.

Just to repeat the history, drawn in its entirety and quoted from the official responses of WLBC and its Head of Leisure and Cultural Services in August 2015 with 100% accuracy “Phase 3 of the development (formation of a 9 hole short course) has commenced with mounding and ridges being formed with inert infill and soil It is expected that the infill and profiling work will be completed by Sept 2015”…Council planning officers and officers from the Environment Agency both undertake monitoring functions in relation to the site. The planning officers in relation to the general conditions under the planning approval and the Environment Agency in relation to the permit and licence for Oaklands Leisure Limited[Oakland Golf and Leisure Ltd] for the importation of materials on to the site. I [John Nelson] also have a responsibility as the land falls under the leisure provision for the Council. Although the facilities are leased to West Lancashire Community Leisure the land and buildings belong to the Borough Council”. These people marked out a tee   months ago without checking the true status of the course!

But again, reporting with 100% accuracy, the WLBC Head of Leisure and Cultural Services stated on 21 August 2015 “The royalties for the materials being brought to site and currently used to re-profile an area of the golf course for a new 9 hole 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”.

Started in November 2013, unfit for use and awaiting remedial action in the last days of August 2018, when will someone take full responsibility for this loss of proposed income for council tax payers under the claim that “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…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 9 hole par 3 course will generate additional income and importantly bring more junior golfers to the club”.

Isn’t there just one reliable professional expert on golf course creation who can be hired by WLBC to bring an acceptable opinion on this waste of space undertaken solely to line the pockets of developers? Every golf course is unique, having its own planning issues, but WLBC allowed height of landfill to dictate the construction of what no elected member of WLBC will comment on. Enforcement is underway at the footgolf heap, although no progress is being made there, with time running out before prosecution commences. Will the 9Hole heap repeat that disaster?


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