Half-Baked Annual Report From Serco Leisure

West Lancashire Leisure Annual Report. To consider a Presentation from the Board Chairman (WLCL) and Contracts Manager (SERCO).

Note the word “Annual” ie “Occurring once every year”. So why isn’t there a full annual report for the Beacon Park Golf Course? Why is it so selective? It is half-baked and selective to avoid awkward questions about huge illegal landfill and hidden royalties. 

“All sites closed on 20th March 2020 as per the government announcement on that day”. But the government closure didn’t include essential maintenance works.

We asked “What concerns did Serco Leisure Operating Ltd have before closing the Beacon Park Golf Course (BPGC)?” Their Head of Leisure has written “We closed our West Lancashire leisure facilities on 20th March including BPGC. Naturally during this time with no revenue we are playing close attention to our cost base to minimise our losses. I can confirm that we intend to re-commence at Beacon Park from Monday 20th April albeit on a reduced basis, so as not to encourage social gathering or unauthorised usage of the course”.

Beacon Park Golf Course re-opened on Thursday 14th May 2020. Serco received a letter from Senior Golfers  “I am [we are] writing to you on behalf of ALL the members of Beacon Park Golf Club. It is with great sadness and some confusion that you have ceased daily maintenance of the course at BPGC.

“There has been a directive from English Golf to say that it is OK for greenkeepers to continue to work providing they keep to ‘Social Distancing’ regulations. Some courses DID ‘Lay Off’ green keeping staff for a short period but since the directive from English Golf (which has received Government approval) all courses in the area have allowed them to return.

“SERCO’s current directive NOT to allow greenkeepers to carry out daily and essential maintenance at BPGC is unique. It will also prove damaging to the course in the long term. Local greenkeepers are relishing an opportunity to carry out pre-season work without the interruption of Golfers. Gathurst, Sherdley Park, Dean Wood, Houghwood, Kirkby, Allerton, Golf Clubs are all allowing greenkeepers to work and are taking advantage of the situation. This “March”  is a picture of one green keeper working at Sherdley Park. [On his own, nobody to infect or be infected].

“If your current policy of non-maintenance were to continue for any lengthy period of time it would be impossible to play golf at BPGC when the ‘Lock Down’ is finished. Surely this is not good economics!! [Unlike the landfill royalties/VAT “economics” still shrouded in mystery as to their whereabouts!]

“The membership asks would you please reverse your current policy for Beacon Park and allow the green keepers to continue working. I can assure you that as soon the Corona Virus has finished there will be many people rushing to return. If Beacon is not fit to play then many members will leave and go and play elsewhere.

“Many Thanks, Mal Hayman (Club Captain) above right, Mike Stokes (Seniors Captain), Tommy Jackson (Club President), above left , inspecting the creative golf course construction left by Serco/Oakland Golf & Leisure Ltd”.

WLBC stated “In answer to your specific queries a) what maintenance work is being undertaken at the BPGC. The course is closed and as per the governments advice all non essential work has ceased, this includes all maintenance work at the Beacon, other than statutory compliance works. b) are the green keepers working normally? The health, safety and welfare of the community, our staff and customers is our main concern – therefore in line with government advice the greenkeepers are not working. c ) are the greens, fairways and roughs being cut and professionally maintained. As stated previously all non-essential work has ceased.

And there you have it. WLBC declared in writing that the Beacon Park Golf Course greens, fairways and roughs that should be maintained are all non-essential work. You might draw the conclusion that the desecration of Beacon Park that started with massive and ultimately illegal landfill, all bungled under the banner of greed and ” un-monitored planning permission” will be completed within the next few months.  But not so. 

“We commenced a re-profiling of the previous works at Beacon in April 2019 and the works had been going well, the wet weather in September 2019 caused the works to pause and were about to restart in March 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Consequently the works didn’t restart until August 2020.

22 May “MEMBERS RELIEF AS GOLF RESTARTS AT HAIGH   Not Mid-June as Serco claimed! “As most of you will be aware the course will reopen tomorrow at 0800, but with restrictions. There will be no more turn up and play for the foreseeable future. Golf can only be booked by using howdidio for club members and the the BRS booking system when all the tee times have been filled on howdidido. The BRS booking opens five days before for members & season ticket holders and three days before for visitors. Phone bookings will not be taken whilst the restrictions are in place”.

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