Posted by: westlancashirerecord | November 19, 2018

WLBC Ignores Senior Golfers

When the original changes were proposed to the Beacon Park Golf Course before landfill income greed by Serco and Oakland Golf and Leisure Ltd was allowed, the term “gentle mounding” was included in some plans. The course legacy is now “Himalayas-like mounding” as excess landfill covers the driving range and the old practice field is now a 9Hole heap.

WLBC has ignored the wishes of the Beacon Park Golf Course senior members to leave the 18Hole course as it is and close the landfilled driving range. But WLBC has accepted a planning application 2018/1164/FUL to change the course considerably, leading to closure of the 1st hole and disruption to the course for at least 14 months.

The application states “Remodeling of driving range at Beacon Park Golf Centre to create a Foot Golf course, remodeling of 1st hole green, 2nd hole tees, creation of mounding and re-profiling of ground adjacent to 1st fairway, remodeling of ground between 1st and 18th holes and associated landscaping” .

Officers consulted have claimed “Subject to demonstrating the suitable disposal of removed spoil and paying particular attention to land-forming in the area creating the outlook from the clubhouse we are reasonably comfortable with the proposals shown on the submitted drawings. The area to the west of the clubhouse is perhaps the most sensitive in landscape terms and therefore we would encourage lower grading here to avoid the ‘man-made’ appearance in this locality – gentle mounding and profiling would be considered appropriate’. With respect to the type of application officers advised that the driving range area is considered to beyond the scope of a s.73A amendment and will therefore need a ‘full’ planning application as will the haul road mound as a new element. The driving range area will need to include the variations to mounding in the areas of proposed disposal. Officers provided a validation checklist which has been followed and the appropriate documents submitted with the application”.

There is one unusual feature of this application. A letter from the excellent course greenkeeper Billy Merritt suggests “the main aim is the ability to deliver an 18 hole course in the best possible playing condition throughout the year for Members and visitors alike”. He says “The new course designers are experienced and respected”, which is a major change from the landfill dumpers who went before to create what you see now, a monument to industrial grade groundwork failure.

It all envisages the “Creation of a Foot Golf course on the former driving range comprising lowering of the existing contours, creation of new foot/vehicular access, construction of steps and gates, installation of boundary fence; Construction of a new earth bund running alongside the 1st fairway on the footprint of the haul road and now forming part of the golf course with associated planting scheme; Remodelling of the 1st hole green and immediate environs; Remodelling of an area adjacent to the northern side of the 1st fairway utilising material from the re-profiling of the former driving range with associated planting scheme; Remodelling of an area on the western side of the 9th fairway utilising material from the reprofiling of the former driving range with associated planting scheme”.

“The applicant has liaised with the Golf Club committee and site management team on the proposed works and programme and intends to keep them, along with the members of the club and neighbours, full appraised of progress throughout. The applicant has also engaged with the head greenkeeper for the golf course on the proposed temporary changes to the course during the construction period and the design detail of the new remodelled 1st hole green and 2nd hole tees as well as the landscape mounding alongside the 1st fairway. His comments are submitted with the application”.

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