The report of the Executive Manager – Finance and Corporate Services is attached.
The Executive Manager – Finance and Corporate Services introduced a report which detailed a position statement on Edwalton Golf Courses (EGC) and recommended alternative provisions for the asset of the Council.
It was noted that in January 2020, Cabinet resolved to review ongoing provision of golf at Edwalton as Lex Leisure had struggled to ensure the golf course retained any viability given the challenging operational environment (previously reported in financial reporting to both the Corporate Overview Group and Cabinet), and that a report be commissioned to consider whether there was a golfing need for Edwalton Golf Course and an alternative options appraisal if a need is not established for consideration by the Communities Scrutiny Group.
The Group were informed that Knight, Kavanagh and Page (KKP) (which provides specialist services in sport, leisure, culture, regeneration and green spaces) was appointed to undertake a two-stage study in respect Edwalton Golf Course;
Stage 1: A Golf Needs Assessment
Stage 2: Edwalton Golf Courses Options Appraisal (Feasibility Study)
Clare Macleod, Director and Principal Consultant of KKP delivered a presentation to the Group which provided an overview of key findings and recommendations. The presentation covered:
Following the presentation, the Group asked several questions regarding the recommendations for alternative provision at Edwalton Golf Centre. It was explained that there was a requirement for a golf course in the area and that the development of driving range bays would enhance income potential. The development of a driving range would allow residents to practice golf, enable schools to visit and decrease the barriers often associated with taking part in golf. It was also emphasised that other options had been considered but in terms of viability the development of both a driving range and community facility and the continuation of the main golf course was the best way forward.
Members of the group raised concerns regarding the recommendation that some of the site could be developed for housing. It was debated that the site should be used to maximise sport participation and that bodies such as Sport England could object if it is perceived there is detriment to the leisure provision. It was also noted that there was no need for new housing in the area due to the Sharphill development nearby and that the Council should instead invest in community facilities for residents.
The Executive Manager – Finance and Corporate Services emphasised the importance of the consideration of value for money for all taxpayers and, as stated by KKP, other leisure options had been considered but were not considered affordable.
Following a discussion, it was agreed (outside of the meeting) that recommendation d would be changed to:
‘Golfing and/or other sporting and community use should be retained on the site. This could be achieved by developing and investing in the main golf course, a driving range and community facility and, if viable, other sporting activities, as part of the master plan work.’
Councillor Dickman was experiencing problems with his internet connection and so decided abstained in the following vote due to not being able to listen to the presentation or take part in the discussion.
Following the recommendations being put to the vote, the Group were tied in endorsing to Cabinet (recommendation (c)) that that at least some of the site should be considered for development for housing as part of the master plan work. Therefore, it was resolved that Cabinet should decide for themselves whether to resolve this recommendation at their meeting in March 2021.
It was RESOLVED that
a) the significant asset Edwalton Golf Course should not continue in its current form, given its low usage and the current cost to the taxpayer;
b) master planning work be undertaken for the site including a business case with a report to Cabinet in 2021 to tie in with the Local Plan process,
c) Cabinet resolve whether at least some of the site (current par 3 course) should be considered for development for housing as part of the master plan work; and
d) Golfing and/or other sporting and community use should be retained on the site. This could be achieved by developing and investing in the main golf course, a driving range and community facility and, if viable, other sporting activities, as part of the master plan work.