Posted by: westlancashirerecord | January 10, 2019

Planning Farce Follows Incompetence At The Beacon Park Golf Course

In December 2018 the appalling mismanagement of the Beacon Park Golf Course “landfill developments”  by Serco Leisure Operating Ltd and Oakland Golf and Leisure Ltd, undertaken with the tacit collusion of the West Lancashire Borough Council Leisure Services from 2012 to date, led to the expulsion of the Senior Golfers from local competitive golf. The WLBC Chief Executive knew all of this in December, having been told “We, residents of West Lancashire, now know legal action was taken against Serco Leisure Operating Ltd for planning breaches, and further action is contemplated, as the Borough Solicitor has assured me. But the matters of accountancy for, and compliance with, the entire financial arrangements mentioned above remain hidden from council tax payers. Beacon Park Golf Course is publicly owned. Its users, particularly Senior Golf Club members , now banned from local competitive golf, suffer simply because of the total disregard of the planning consents. How WLBC can accept this while the issues of landfill royalties and legal accountancy for them are denied to the public is beyond comprehension”.

The response was simply an inclusion in 2018/1158/FUL “Notwithstanding that an extant permission is in place for significant works to the golf course, I am aware of concerns that the proposals may result in lengthy disruptions to course users with implications for competitive golf and handicaps. The proposed works will inevitably result in disruption during an interim halt to use of the first fairway, green and second tees to users as the works take place. The use of temporary tees and greens, and reconfiguration of some of the remaining holes will ensure that the Council of National Golf Unions standards will be met for course length and par thereby ensuring continuous eligibility to host competitions and maintain handicaps”.

The Chief Executive was advised “This claim is patently untrue as the so-called continuous eligibility to host competitions has already been forfeited by the expulsion of the BPGC Senior Golf Club by the local competitive league. It would seem unworthy of WLBC to claim otherwise, the expulsion has been in place since the Senior Golf Club Captain was unable to assure the League of the standards they required of BPGC”.

Yesterday the WLBC Planning Department issued a “Late Information” memo relating to the Planning Committee agenda Report No. 2, to be considered tonight at the Planning Committee.

Director of Leisure and Environment (21.12.18) – no objections; request conditions to protect local amenity during works including in relation to vehicle routing, delivery/waiting times, restricted times of operations, noise levels, dust and mud suppression measures.

“LCC Highways (03.01.19) – no objections to the principle of remodelling the golf driving range, but have concerns regarding HGV traffic movement associated with the importation of final top dressing material and potential routing of delivery vehicles. LCC recommend the reopening of the former haulage access direct onto the A577 Stannanought Road to the west.

“A third party representation has been received advising that the commentary at paragraph 10.10 relating to the continued suitability of the course for competition golf is incorrect as BPGC Senior Golf Club has been eliminated from their league since assurances to the course standard could not be given by the club.

As stated in paragraph 10.7 of the report, the routing of any vehicle deliveries to the site is reserved for agreement under the terms of proposed Condition 4.

“The following additional conditions are proposed to reflect the concerns of the Director of Leisure and Environment and the restrictions imposed on the preceding permissions for the site in order to protect local amenity in the vicinity of the golf course:

“Condition 8 No operations on the site shall be carried out except between the hours of 08:00 and 17:00 Monday to Friday and 08:00 and 13:00 Saturdays and no vehicles associated with the importation of materials onto the site shall enter or leave the site and no waiting shall take place except between the stated hours. No operations of any nature shall take place on Sunday or Public Bank Holidays without the prior written approval of the Local Planning Authority.

“Reason To safeguard the amenity of nearby residential properties and the area generally and so comply with the provisions of Policy GN3 in the adopted West Lancashire Local Plan 2012-2027 Development Plan Document.

“Condition 9 The noise emitted from the site’s plant, equipment and machinery shall not exceed 55dB(A)LAeq, 1hr free field at the boundary of any nearby residential dwelling during the allowed operational hours.

“Reason To safeguard the amenity of nearby residential properties and the area generally and so comply with the provisions of Policy GN3 in the adopted West Lancashire Local Plan 2012-2027 Development Plan Document.

“With respect to the Senior Club competition league, discussions with Mr Collins (Senior Captain) advise that the club may be reinstated if works take place quickly and the course can be re-measured and a temporary green provided to standard before the season starts (first fixture 11 April 2019). The club is currently scheduled within the league season fixtures as ‘friendlies’ but may be fully reinstated if those works can proceed in time”.

Just two years ago Councillor Aldridge  on behalf of the Labour Group put in a Motion to Council. It was “Resolved; that this council recognises the difficulties facing the Beacon Park Golf Club and its members during the course developments and congratulates them on their success in winning the South Lancashire Municipal Golf Clubs Association Team Championship held at Bowring Park Golf Course. Eight teams of fourteen players each competed for the trophy which can be seen at the Beacon Park Golf Clubhouse. It is a splendid success for Captain Tom Jackson, for his team, and for West Lancashire”.

The current farce does not respect those who have earned it.

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