New lease of life for golf courses

A deal is set to be signed to secure the future of two municipal golf courses in Liverpool.

A report to the Mayor’s Cabinet on Friday 10 January is recommending the city council enter into a 25 year arrangement with Formby Hall Golf Club plc to operate the links at North Liverpool, and Allerton Golf course with Glendale Golf Limited .

It will wipe out an overspend and subsidy which is estimated to total £339,000 this financial year alone – saving the city around £1.7m over the next five years.

The council has insisted that the incoming commercial partners must continue to provide affordable and accessible ‘pay and play’ golf.

They will also be encouraged to invest in the courses through upgrades and appropriate additional facilities to attract customers.

Assistant Mayor and Cabinet member for culture and tourism, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “This is a really good deal for the city council. It will not just save money, but it will also secure the future of two long standing sports facilities.

“We can no long afford to subsidise the courses to the tune of almost £5 per round, but we know how much they are appreciated by the people who use them. That is why we have worked extremely hard over the last few months to put together a deal that satisfies everyone.

“This proposal will make sure that they continue to operate at a price that is affordable to users and receive investment to make them sustainable in the long term.

“Although we are having to make tough decisions due to the severe cuts in central Government funding, we are determined to do all we can to make sure that we find alternative and innovative ways of securing the future of well-loved community facilities.”

Due to the nature of the arrangement, the law requires that the council advertise the initiative as a disposal of a facility. However the site will retain the same use and remain in the ownership of the council.

If the report is approved, it is expected the operators will take over the courses by April 2014.