Serco Leisure Operating Ltd (SLOL)
is contractually responsible for maintaining the Beacon Park Golf Course (BPGC). SLOL closed the course within Government coronavirus instructions, which were challenged and reviewed as it is no surprise that grass grows and needs mowing, and in consultation with WLBC essential maintenance recommenced on 20th April.
Serco Group plc Chief Executive Rupert Soames wrote to Rosie Cooper MP in response to her queries about BPGC to whinge about the fact that since members could not use any of Serco’s facilities they took a decision to suspend membership payments as from 20th March, “leaving us with no income to cover our staff and other fixed costs. As for many other businesses in the leisure sector, this is a financial and operational disaster, mitigated only in part by the Government’s Job Retention Scheme, which has allowed us to keep many of our valued staff employed, but whilst they are on the scheme they are not allowed to work.
“Having reviewed the recent guidance provided by England Golf and in consultation with the council (WLBC) I can confirm that we recommended essential maintenance works at Beacon Park on Monday 20 April, albeit on a reduced basis so as not to encourage social gathering or unauthorised usage of the course. In addition you will be reassured to hear that unauthorised usage will also be monitored by the Grounds Staff, West Lancashire Country Park Rangers and the police.
“The course will remain closed in line with Government instruction and the maintenance regime will remain in place to allow surfaces to be brought back to an appropriate playing standard once play resumes, as advised by England Golf”.
In addition to all this Serco hand-wringing, Rosie Cooper was also advised by the WLBC Head of Leisure and Wellbeing that “As you are aware, Serco have taken the decision to freeze any membership payments at this time until the course re-opens, however we understand that many golf courses have continued to charge fees as maintenance is being carried out, which inevitably comes at a cost”. Quite what the reference to other courses has to do with WLBC and BPGC is beyond us!
We understand only one member of the BPGC staff is working to maintain the entire golf course, including greens and fairways, which we hope to confirm soon. Well, that IS maintenance on a reduced basis!