The Agenda for the Virtual meeting of the Corporate and Environmental Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Thursday, 17th September, 2020 7.00 pm includes Item 8. WEST LANCASHIRE LEISURE ANNUAL REPORT To consider a Presentation from the Board Chairman (WLCL) and Contracts Manager (SERCO).
From the West Lancashire Borough Council Leisure Strategy 2015 – 2025 we read about “Population segmentation”, about the “Beacon Park Golf Course providing a new 9 hole par 3 course and junior facilities”, and that “The Course is to a Donald Steel layout and provides good competition play with enough character and features for a variety of playing ability”.
“Knowing which segments of the population are the most dominant in any area helps direct provision and programming, although it is also important not to ignore other needs. Sport England’s model divides the population into 19 market segments and provides an insight into their sporting interests and behaviour. This data helps develop better understanding of participation and specific activities in the context of life stage. It may also be linked to the projected increase in older population groups (see earlier).
“The three largest groups in West Lancashire are described, by Sport England, as ‘settling down males’, ‘comfortable mid-life males’ and ‘early retirement couples’. Others which form a noticeably higher proportion of the Borough’s population, than national equivalents include ‘empty nest career ladies’, ‘comfortable retired couples’ and ‘older working women’. Conversely, there are fewer ‘fitness class friends’, ‘competitive male urbanites’, ‘sport team drinkers’ and supportive singles’.
“The fact that the main sports, for almost all segments, are keep fit/gym, swimming and cycling suggests that demand will be significant for each of these. What can be discerned is the slightly reduced emphasis in certain areas e.g., marginally less demand for football and athletics (or possibly specific types of football and athletics) and slightly more demand for keep fit, swimming and cycling”.
Golf. “Beacon Park Golf Course providing a new 9 hole par 3 course and junior facilities”,
“There are five golf clubs in West Lancashire; with the exception of Beacon Park they are all privately owned. Sport England recommends a 20 minutes drive time catchment for golf courses, on this basis the current supply in West Lancashire is sufficient for residents. The Borough is also bordered by several top class courses. West Lancashire Community Leisure has recently closed its driving range at Beacon Park due to a lack of demand/income but has plans to develop the leisure offer at the site and these include a new 9 hole par 3 course and junior facilities.
“The golf course at Beacon Park is available for members and non members offering pay and play rates, together with competitions and club tournament events. The Course is to a Donald Steel layout and provides good competition play with enough character and features for a variety of playing ability. The inclusion of a new 9 hole par 3 course will provide additional facilities for both senior and junior development of the game”.
However, there is no 9 hole par 3 course. There is landfill, mound upon mound of it creating dizzy heights of landfill. There was a thin covering of recycled topsoil that washed away, exposing much of the landfill, see above and below. And there is no work in progress to create what planning permission approved.
But it seems the WLBC Head of Wellbeing and Leisure is content to disclose and confirm that “Regular site visits have taken place both prior to and during the re-profiling work. These visits have taken the form of onsite inspections and verbal updates including representatives from the Council, the lead contractor, and Serco. I can also confirm that the Council will ensure that the finalised re profiling is compliant with the latest planning approval”.
So that’s alright then. Except it isn’t! Nine years of similar bullshit have been excreted from this council and Serco. Bad weather has intervened. There has apparently been no dry weather over the Beacon Park Golf Course since May 2018 when the legal necessity of an Order was served on Serco. There is an absurd pretence intended to dismiss the facts of the landfill royalty scandal that continues to shame all those involved in it. Who will ask about this at the Committee on Thursday 17 September?