When we raised the question of what’s happening to Middleton Park Golf Course, which is currently threatened with closure, at Area Committee we were told very little. A small group of Councillors, officers, the Golf Club and Friends of Middleton Park are looking at the finances. There will be a report to the Council’s Executive Board in October, followed by public consultation on the “options”.
Today we received the following letter from reader Neil McCallum. We would like to hear what you think. Should the course be kept? Do you have ideas about saving costs or increasing revenue? Are the Council the best people to run it? Please tell us what you think in the comments section below.
I played the course yesterday and the mood amongst members was very subdued. Expectation seems to be that the course is heading toward inevitable closure but that genuine information from the council does not appear to be easily available. Rumour abounds!
I’m a member and have been playing the course regularly for +5 years. I have a view that entrenched attitudes from both the council and the course users have not assisted the situation. A genuine, open partnership approach could lead to solutions.
While people may not always agree with government at a local or national level there is a general understanding of issues around public finances and an acknowledgment that not everything can be provided by the council. That said, I’m not sure closing a golf course saves much especially when the value of the land cannot be realised via a sale – does anyone actually know the proposed cost saving for closing the course (I think I’ve seem figures ranging from £100k to £50m)?
Furthermore, times are tight now but that won’t always be the case and if the course is closed the council will never be able to bring this facility back. We are talking about a course in it’s 80th year which will have seen good and bad economic times. It will be very sad if it is not given the opportunity to survive into the future.
Personally, I would like to see free golf at Middleton for anyone under 16, in full time education or unemployed. Generally, costs to play the course should be reduced and some investment should be put into improving facilities. (Frankly, some decent training for the maintenance staff would go a long way and wouldn’t cost the earth.) Playing golf should be encouraged much more widely. The course is a place where people can learn the game, but I think it is too expensive for people to come and try. An outreach programme between the course and the community is required and this needs to recognise that a significant number of people in the area who might wish to play golf cannot afford c.£15 to play on a regular basis.
I’d be interested in being involved in any dialogue on your site about the future of the course.