Senior councillors are being recommended to press ahead with the closure of Middleton Park Golf Course at a meeting next Wednesday.
Leeds City Council’s powerful executive board will discuss a number of options regarding the long-term viability of both Middleton Park and Gotts Park local authority golf courses.
This follows the council last year deferring a previous decision to close both courses in order to see if a new way of delivering the service could be found and undertaking a public consultation.
A council spokesperson said:
“Attempts to find a suitable business case to keep the courses open, which made a collective loss of £217k in 2013/2014, have as yet been fruitless, and at the executive board, members are being asked to recommend that the council cease to provide golf at either course from 31 October 2014.”
If the Middleton Park closure is agreed, the council has said it will invest £74,000 in the space which is currently occupied by Middleton Park Golf Club. The council says this investment will be shaped in consultation with local councillors, Friends of Middleton Park group, the Wades Charity and the local community.
The council says a number of ideas – as yet unspecified – are set to be looked at. The report indicates the space is likely to be transformed into ‘semi-natural parkland’.
The report adds:
“Consultation undertaken at the point of play at each course demonstrated around 95% opposed to the proposal to close each course.
“However, when broader public opinion was tested through the citizen’s panel, 87% were in favour of establishing semi-natural parkland, including around 73% of those who stated that they play golf.”
It is expected that the projected savings in closing both courses will be £170k this year to the cash-strapped authority, and this money will be used to establish the parkland and as match funding for suitable grants until 2015/2016.
Middleton Golf Club has said it would not be in a position to take over the management of the course.
A counter proposal to reinstate a nine-hole golf course was rejected on costs grounds by the council.
Read the report in full below:
In a statement, Councillor Mark Dobson, Leeds City Council’s executive member for cleaner, safer and stronger communities, said:
“We have worked extremely hard with both golf clubs to see if a suitable business case could be found to deliver this service, and unfortunately these investigations have as yet not been successful. Given the significant challenges that the council faces and the combined loss of both golf courses which were £217,000 last year, it is simply unstainable to carry on as before. It is because of this reason that we have asked the executive board to recommend that both golf courses close.
“We have been determined however, that if Gotts Park Golf Club doesn’t take up the option of managing their particular service, and the closure of both courses does go ahead, that plans are put in place to ensure that these two lovely pieces of green spaces are made fully accessible and enjoyed by the public.
“With that in mind, we would like to move forward on the development of a country park at Gotts and working closely with the community of Middleton, see what they would like the green space to become in the future. As part of our commitment, we will use the projected £170k savings this year, to help establish the parkland and support the work at Middleton.”