Category Archives: BeaconParkGolfCourseWatch

A Letter To Serco About Beacon Park Golf Course

Dear Mark [Snaylam]/Rupert [Soames] at Serco

“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, below, is a picture of one green keeper working at Sherdley Park today. [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)  below right, Mike Stokes (Seniors Captain), Tommy Jackson (Club President), below left, inspecting the creative golf course construction left by Serco/Oakland Golf & Leisure Ltd”.

For the record, WLBC allows Clean and Green Operatives to work on the “Upkeep of green spaces across the borough such as highway grass verges, roundabouts and open spaces.  The government has declared council staff, unlike private businesses, as key workers and therefore with the resources available these services will continue to maintain highway safety”.But they could come within 2 metres of the public while undertaking those duties.

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. 

And who is making these decisions? Highly paid WLBC executives with no knowledge of golf course standards. Well they would, wouldn’t they? And dare we mention the unmentionable, that WLBC wants the BPGC to close? Probably!

Serco To The Rescue

If you needed a stirring message about the coronavirus pandemic, you would hardly think it might be delivered from the Serco Chief Executive Rupert Soames?

Think Beacon Park Golf Course, think swimming with cockroaches! But, and it may be tongue in cheek, he has urged Serco employees to “stand by our country and do what needs to be done”. Or is it “stand by Serco and watch for a chance to make money!”?

About half of Serco’s staff work in UK prisons, hospitals, defence, transport, and border security. Soames called on the “Serco army” of thousands providing vital services to the public to “play their part in achieving a “victory in the battle against coronavirus”.

He went on to tell employees to prepare to shed “sweat and maybe a few tears” in an echo of his grandfather’s famous “blood, toil, tears and sweat” speech on becoming Prime Minister as the Second World War raged in May 1940. “Now is the time we show our mettle” Soames said in a message to employees on Friday. ‘We do important work. That pride which we all have in delivering public services also brings with it a responsibility as a company and as individuals to the people and governments we serve”. Not forgetting the £68million for tagging dead prisoners a few years ago!

‘It may be inconvenient if you go to the shops to find there is a shortage of bananas. But it is disastrous if we cannot keep our hospitals clean, our prisons safe and our public transport running. In the next few weeks everybody in the company is likely to be asked to work in different ways, to cover for colleagues who are ill themselves, caring for relatives or looking after children who are locked out of schools. We cannot be proud to deliver public services and not stand up to be counted in a crisis.

“This is going to be a serious challenge in every company where we operate’ said Soames, who has been chief executive of Serco since 2014. “Hopefully we’ll be back to normal relatively fast” he added, while warning it would “possibly get a lot worse before it gets better”. Soames said Serco was contacting staff separately to provide practical advice, but before that he wanted to “talk on a more fundamental level”.

He admitted he had ‘been on a bit of a personal journey’ because he had initially underestimated the severity of the situation. “Frankly, I started off thinking that this was just like a nasty flu. Unfortunately, it has become clear that coronavirus is worse than flu for two reasons. First, it is particularly easy to catch. And second, because although 80 per cent of the people who get it only have mild symptoms, about 15 per cent of those infected become quite seriously ill.

“For people over 70 and those who have pre-existing medical conditions it is a more dangerous disease than flu. The consensus of expert opinion seems to be that many if not most people in the countries in which we live and work will, sooner or later, be infected by the virus. The next few months may see very severe disruption to your normal working and home life. Your children’s schools may be closed, public transport restricted, local health and social care stretched to breaking point. It is going to take ingenuity, flexibility, enormous effort, and, dare I say it, sweat and maybe a few tears to get through this. This will pass. The world and the magic of human immunity will defeat this horrible disease. What is important now is how well we play our part in securing that victory”.

So, just to be on the safe side, we must check the Serco balance sheet next year! And, watch the Beacon Park Golf Course mess, naturally!

The Oakland Golf and Leisure Pension Fund

In answer to a query about the disclosure of an Oakland Golf and Leisure Pension Scheme with Jonathan Russell Snellgrove and Sharon Marie Snellgrove both of Mill Cottage, 20 Rockery Road, Horsforth, Leeds LS18 5AS as Trustees, all of the information is publicly available via Companies House,

under Oakland Golf and Leisure (UK) Ltd Registered Number 09350603.

https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/09350603/charges

Charge 1 26/04/2019 Contains Fixed Charge(s) and Contains Negative Pledge. Persons entitled Lloyds Bank PLC.  Brief description.  The property known as 62 Town Street, Horsforth, Leeds, LS18 4AP registered at HM land registry with title number WYK690096. Contains fixed charge. Contains negative pledge.

Charge 2 delivered 10 September 2019 Status Outstanding. Persons entitled Jonathan Russell Snellgrove; Sharon Maria Snellgrove; Dcd Trustees Limited. Brief description; Contains fixed charge. Contains floating charge. Floating charge covers all the property or undertaking of the company. Contains negative pledge.

What is noticeable about the relationship of Oakland Golf and Leisure with Serco/WLBC is that while UK Sports Parks Ltd Registered Number 06874084 was finally dissolved on 13/04/16, WLBC had received planning application 2016/0040/FUL to vary 2011/0787/FUL on 12 January 2016 and Mr Harrison, Interim Director Planning WLBC, signed the permission on 22 February 2016. A simple search by any competent officer as required by due diligence, even at this late stage, of UK Sports Parks Ltd, would have exposed the directorship links to the issues of the unpaid HMRC £100,000 VAT liability. 

Let us be quite clear, that as it stands, parts of the Beacon Park Golf Course are unrecognisable from its former glory. It will not be restored for a long time.

The landfill project has produced huge sums of royalties to the various participants. The losers are the talented senior golfers and the council tax payers of West Lancashire. Perhaps Rosie Cooper MP will be active on their and our behalf to bring forward a public inquiry, and the sooner the better!

 

No Council Due Diligence, Less Council Control Over Assets

We recently wrote about “Local Council Due Diligence? Never Heard Of It!”

in respect of the Beacon Park Golf Course and the landfill royalty swindle thereon. Under the swindle, only Serco Leisure Operating Ltd, its West Lancashire Leisure Trust, and Oakland Golf and Leisure Ltd/Oakland Golf and Leisure (UK) Ltd had rights of development, resulting in WLBC turning a blind eye to the golf course ruination, especially crass in view of the £1 lease debacle!

But there was another element to this debacle, as we paid due diligence to the people involved in what a WLBC senior officer regularly referred to as “Oaklands”. We found rather more than he did about “Oaklands”. Because whereas WLBC council tax payers still have no financial gain, and very little leisure from the golf course wreckage, others have consolidated their assets.

The old Cottage Fields Sports Park Limited, Director Jonathan Russell Snellgrove, became UK Sports Parks Ltd Company Number 06874084, ultimately dissolved on 13 April 2016 after concluding a massive VAT avoidance of £100,000.

Who can forget that “Serco have proposed a surplus income share arrangement. They have not included any management fees in the cost of the operation and have agreed to absorb any losses incurred within the golf course arrangement during the contract period. The surplus income share is based on 1/3rds (thirds) distributed equally to West Lancashire Borough Council, West Lancashire Community Leisure Trust, and Serco Leisure Operating Limited”. And as SLOL lays claim to ownership of the Leisure Trust their share is 2/3rds? Below, we turn to the remaining beneficiaries of the landfill.

“Oaklands” and its directors. Jonathan Russell Snellgrove and Sharon Marie Snellgrove, both of Mill Cottage, 20 Rockery Road, Horsforth, Leeds, LS18 5AS, who we now find to be Trustees and members of the Oakland Golf and Leisure Pension Fund, address 94 Consfield Avenue, New Malden, Greater London KT3 6HE,  VAT ID GB 313356928.

Described as the “Mortgagor” of a property at 62 Town Street, Horsforth, Leeds S18 4AP, the Land registry shows the property sold for £678,500 on 26 April 2019, the same date the Chief Land Registrar was notified of a mortgage deed between the said Trustees (the Mortgagor) and the Lloyds Bank plc (the Customer).

What with all of this wheeling and dealing based on the landfill royalty, the tax avoidance and evasion, the only innocent people, the council tax payers who want to play golf, can perhaps benefit from street golf?

Just don’t play it on Long Lane, Aughton!

Tax Avoidance, Evasion, And Landfill Tax Fraud

House Of Commons Debate On Tax Avoidance And Evasion

House of Commons Hansard 25th February 2020 included “The moving target of criminality, as it relates to landfill tax fraud”. Is the Beacon Park Golf Course landfill  soon to be investigated by HMRC? 

Mr Kevan Jones MP (North Durham) (Lab)


“I wonder whether the Minister thinks that there is a strong ethos of enforcement within HMRC, especially on landfill tax fraud, which I will speak about. In a case I was involved in, HMRC was not interested unless there was more than £20 million a year in evasion. Does that not send a signal that some people can get away with evading large amounts of tax, because there is not an ethos in HMRC to properly investigate?”

Steve Barclay MP Chief Secretary to the Treasury


“As a point of principle, HMRC always seeks to collect the tax that it is due. One of the areas of innovation—I will come on to such areas as Making Tax Digital—is about making that easier for HMRC, but I appreciate that the right hon. Gentleman is making a point more about fraud than error. The underlying principle is that HMRC always looks to collect the tax that it is due, but if he has a specific point on a constituency basis, I know that my right hon. Friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury will always be keen to discuss it with him, because he has a zeal for cracking down on any such practice”.

Mr Kevan Jones
“On the analytics, what is HMRC doing to track individuals who set up companies, fold them after two or three years and then open up new companies? A constituent came to me with a case in the cosmetic surgery industry where the same individuals moved from one company to another while owing huge amounts to the Inland Revenue and to local councils in council tax. What is HMRC doing to track these individuals? The three individuals involved in the company my constituent highlighted to me have evaded huge amounts of tax”.

Steve Barclay
“The right hon. Gentleman raises an important point about the moving target of criminality and the ingenuity of approaches to evade tax or abuse the tax system. That is partly why I referred earlier to the fraud service set up within HMRC in 2016. It is also a key part of how technology is used in a dynamic way within HMRC to tackle that moving target of criminality. As I said in answer to his earlier intervention, if in their surgeries Members are told of case involving firms or local authorities in their constituencies, that intelligence is obviously of relevance to colleagues, and I can commit that the Financial Secretary would take those forward”.

Rosie Cooper MP has been to the Beacon Park Golf Course

to see the landfill, including the unlawful excessive landfill now being moved around the course to lessen the effect of the “footgolf” and new “9Hole course”. Serco Leisure Operating Ltd, Oakland Golf and Leisure Ltd (and associate companies) and WLBC, must now be investigated as the Chief Secretary to the Treasury has committed.

Local Council Due Diligence? Never Heard Of It!

We here in West Lancashire

know that WLBC did no due diligence checks whatsoever on Oakland Golf And Leisure Ltd (OG&LL), its Director, Jonathan Russell Snellgrove, who received WLBC Planning Permission for the Beacon Park Golf Course (BPGC) landfill scandal, or on the relationship Serco Leisure Operating Ltd (SLOL) had with any participant in the scandal.

Jonathan Snellgrove was, as we have pointed out, involved in the “Leeds based UK Sports Parks plc application for planning permission to develop their first multi activity sports and leisure facility on a 30-acre site near Gateacre and Woolton in Liverpool”.

Golf Business News

the “essential intelligence for the business of golf” described, in November 2007, the features and the men behind what turned out to be a scam. Liverpool based Chris Bennett, director of UK Sports Parks plc declared “UK Sports Parks plc is completing the golf course, angling lake and the 280 space car park ready for leasing by specialist operators. UK Sports Parks plc co-director Jonathan Snellgrove added “The mix of uses and activities is central to the success of the Sports Park. It is essential that we create a development that will attract as wide a cross section of visitor, throughout the day and week, as possible. The opportunities are limited only by your imagination”.

UK Sports Parks plc are also close to securing a second site in the North West and are actively looking for further opportunities Nationwide to expand the brand.

Jonathan Snellgrove continues by saying “Our Sports Park concept will compliment any regeneration plans that local authorities and development agencies may be considering and our early involvement ensures a balanced regeneration project that delivers sustainable Sports and Leisure facilities that do not rely on residential development to succeed”. And “At up to 54,000sqft we have an opportunity to provide purpose built space for large indoor sport & leisure activities that operators can’t find elsewhere on Merseyside” added Snellgrove.

Of course, it didn’t happen, and there was big scale VAT fraud involved as UK Sports Parks Ltd ultimately went into liquidation.

Moving on to the BPGC and we found Jonathan Russell Snellgrove and OG&LL all cosy with WLBC Leisure Services and SLOL. The pictures tell the story we relate so often, in an attempt to trace the landfill royalties, via the tipping trucks “ticket office” on the course. We know that Serco have admitted to receiving a chunk of it.

Moving on to 2018 and we have unearthed a Freedom of Information request to Liverpool City Council

from Mark price who asks “Please can you provide the following information: Any information held regarding the current state of land degradation with a focus on soil contamination. All communication to and from UK Sports Parks Plc. All meeting minutes in regard to the Fazakerley playing field transformation. Any information regarding the tender process used that resulted in UK Sports Parks Plc being awarded the project. A copy of the legal notices served to UK Sports Parks Plc. Results and conclusions of due diligence checks performed on UK Sports Parks Plc”.

The response “Liverpool City Council confirms that it holds information relevant to the terms of your request, our response being set out below –

“1. In response to this element of your request the City Council can confirm that the information you have requested is exempt from disclosure under section 43(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

“This information is commercially sensitive at this stage pending seeking tenders for remediation works to the site concerned and its disclosure into the public domain at this stage would compromise our ability to secure the most appropriate commercial and financial solution to enable remediation to commence at the earliest opportunity.

“Use of Section 43(2) of the FOIA requires the application of a public interest test. The City Council has considered the following public interest arguments in respect of releasing the information: If the financial and operational details of our contractors were disclosed to the public it would place the organisation at a commercial disadvantage should they take part in any future contracts/negotiations as potential competitors would already be aware of their previous terms and conditions, thus placing them at a commercial disadvantage.

“As a result of Section 43 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 being a qualified exemption we are required to conduct a public interest test to determine whether or not the public interest in the disclosure of the information requested outweighs the public interest in withholding it”

There followed much bullshit from Liverpool City Council and you can read the whole matter below, but we point out that “Knowsley MBC Planning Service has confirmed that they have had a pre-planning application meeting with the prospective developer”.

And ultimately criminal charges we were made against Snellgrove and UK Sports Parks Ltd, leading to successful prosecution at Liverpool Magistrates Court, at which no attendance was recorded, leading to a conviction in absence. The conviction was never enforced. 

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/460080/response/1176457/attach/html/4/572001%20M%20Price%20Response.pdf.html

Bringing Service To Life

Every now and then we bring you news of how you can serve your local community by working for Serco.

“Beacon Park Golf Centre is part of the West Lancashire Community Leisure Trust. “Our vision is the creation and maintenance of a first-class range of healthy leisure and recreational activities and facilities to serve all parts of the community.

“We need a Café/Bar Assistant (Casual) at Beacon Park Golf Course Location: Beacon Lane, Dalton, Upholland, Lancashire, WN8 7RU. Casual Salary: £6.15 to £8.21 per hour (pay increase in April onwards £6.45 to £8.72 per hour). We are looking to recruit Casual Cafe/Bar Assistants to work as and when required between Monday – Sunday for Beacon Park Golf Centre.

“Beacon Park Golf Centre is part of the West Lancashire Community Leisure Trust. Our vision is the creation and maintenance of a first-class range of healthy leisure and recreational activities and facilities to serve all parts of the community, [no kidding! even though our landfill project has ruined the Beacon Park Golf Course for the foreseeable. future]

“Main Duties and Responsibilities; – Help plan and present bar menu. – Serving alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, checking customers` identification where necessary to comply with alcohol consumption laws. – Taking customer orders and serving snacks. – Restock and replenish bar inventory and supplies. – Assisting with customer bookings (casual and members) on the golf course. – Assisting on the golf course and driving range, which, considering there isn’t a driving range, will be a problem!

“Cash handling. – General housekeeping duties. – Member/guest focused to ensure an excellent customer experience. Essential / Desirable Skills for the role. – Previous experience of working in a bar environment is essential. – Experience in cash handling and reconciliation is essential. – Proven experience of working in a Kitchen/catering environment is desirable. – Proven waiting on experience is desirable. – Excellent customer care and communication skills. – Till experience (monetary) – Ability to work as part of a team.

“Please note: Age restrictions will apply, as the successful candidates for this role will be required to service alcoholic beverages to customers. If you have the essential skills, experience and qualifications to fulfil this role, please apply now and upload a copy of your CV in a word or PDF format. Serco/Serco Leisure Operating Limited are appointed as the Trust’s Managing Agents. We manage the recruitment process and the Trust’s employees in the delivery of the service on their behalf.

“On occasion we receive significantly more applicants than expected for some vacancies and under such circumstances we reserve the right to bring forward the closing date of the advertisement. We therefore strongly advise you to apply for the role promptly to avoid disappointment should the closing date be brought forward”. 

That “Assisting on the golf course and driving range” duty is a gross misrepresentation of the situation, as we have shown so often. There is no driving range, the start of the course is disgraceful, but Serco Leisure Operating Ltd disregards the truth. Luckily the camera doesn’t lie, as this became this and Serco was awarded the bum award for golf plans, and this old guy is still waiting to play footgolf!