Fury against the “crazy” plan to close a “flourishing” golf course
Reports that a ‘thriving’ Merseyside golf course could be closed has sparked enormous anger.
Cllr Jerry Williams, who represents Bebington in Wirral, said council officials presented a plan to close the Brackenwood golf course and turn it into an “ecological park” at a non-public workshop last night (Thursday).
Wirral’s council insists that the workshop was not specifically about closing the course, but that it was a discussion of long-term options for the borough’s golf courses.
Bebington Course is one of four public golf courses in Wirral, with The Warren in Wallasey, Arrowe Park Golf Course and Hoylake Municipal also operated by the council.
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At the end of last year, when the local authority was looking for ways to make up a £ 16.5million deficit in its budget, a proposal to close three of the courtyards saving £ 180,000 was put forward .
This would have left Hoylake as the sole municipal, as it was necessary to secure Royal Liverpool’s hosting of the Open Championship in 2023.
But in the end, the proposal was dropped and golfers thought their local courses were safe.
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As a result, Cllr Williams said last night’s plan “came out of nowhere”.
The labor adviser said: “The officers suggested reducing the number of courses, saying we need to remove a course. [Brackenwood] completely.
“I understand that hard decisions have to be made, but this is absolute madness. The number of members is increasing massively. It is a thriving club in the best shape it has ever known.
Cllr Williams pointed out that Brackenwood was a “hardworking club” and was loved by many.
Regarding the idea of the ecological park, he said: “We have to have a realistic approach in this regard. How much will it cost to run?
“What about possible landscaping costs on top of that. Who will run it, at what cost?
Brackenwood club secretary Keith Marsh was outraged by the news.
Speaking to ECHO, he said: “It came out of nowhere when the number of people playing on the course exploded.
“In the [second quarter] this year the number of players has increased and the club has grown steadily since its reopening [after Covid-19 rules changed] in March, with membership up 55%.
“He’s been in the best shape for many years and that goes with a lot of people who play him.”
Mr Marsh, 46, who has been playing the course since the age of 11, felt betrayed by the Wirral Council.
He said: “We are absolutely furious, we feel like we have been guided by officers on the way to the garden.
“It sounds like a gut reaction, not even 12 months ago we were looking at a future for golf, it’s maddening, pathetic.
“A lot of members can’t afford the extra £ 1,000 to go to a private club, it will force a lot of people to move elsewhere or give up gambling. It sounds like a crazy idea.
The club secretary thought the ecological park plan was bad news.
He continued, “When the board says an eco park, they leave it and ‘reshape’ it so they don’t have to cut it down and save money. He will go to wreckage and ruin and the council will say that he is rescuing him.
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“We’ll get tips, people will say they’re fed up and over time we’ll have houses on it.” “
Mr Marsh also believed the eco park was unnecessary as Storeton Woods was only half a mile from Brackenwood Golf Course.
Responding to comments, Cllr Helen Cameron, Chair of the Tourism, Communities, Culture and Recreation Committee, said: This was not a meeting to consider recommendations or decisions, nor to discuss only the Brackenwood Golf Course.
“As elected members, we have a responsibility to consider all potential ideas in order to make informed decisions when the time comes.
“In general, that’s how any strategic process works. In this case, there is still a lot of work to be done before even seeing fully developed options offered for consultation and consideration, let alone making a decision. “