Golf course ‘vandalized’ more than ever before after closure

A Wirral golf course has been vandalized to an extent never seen before according to a senior member.

Brackenwood Golf Course, in Bebington, closed at the end of the last month after the Wirral Council withdrew its funding for the course to help close its major budget deficit. Golfers are trying to save the course by getting in a new operator to run it, but many worried it would be vandalized if it closed down for any period of time.

Although the ECHO cannot confirm the cause of the damage reported by Golfers, it is clear the condition of the course has been taken a hit. Keith Marsh, secretary of the men’s section at the club, said: “It is worrying if this continues.

READ MORE:Frustrated golfer says council delays could see 87-year-old course close forever

“We can’t say why it’s been done, but we are aware that people play football on the course now as there are no flags in the holes and people don’t see a golf course there anymore.

“Marker posts have been pulled out and dragged into the Pond [for example]. We’ve had vandalism in the past but not on this scale, concentrated in such a short space of time. “

Mr Marsh added: “The damage is not irreversible, it can be repaired. But repairs take time to bed in and with more and more damage there is a cost element to those repairs.

“I’m still hopeful [the course will be saved]having spoken to three potential operators they are all still very keen to take it over as soon as possible. That’s one thing we want as it’s just starting to get into the growing season. ”

The move to close Brackenwood, along with Hoylake Municipal, was passed as the council predicts it will save £ 328,000 towards the £ 20m the authority needs to save to address a major gap in its budget. It was one of many cuts passed at a meeting of all of Wirral’s councillors on February 28, with the authority also withdrawing funding from the Woodchurch Leisure Center and nine public libraries.

However, community groups will be given financial support should they put together successful bids to keep these services going, something Brackenwood and Hoylake Municipal will not benefit from.



Golfers at the Bebington course before it closed last month

The Wirral Council was approached for comment, but referred to a previous council meeting. At the Policy and Resources Committee meeting on March 16, Cllr Helen Cameron, chair of the Tourism and Leisure Committee, answered several questions from golfers about the future of Brackenwood.

Cllr Cameron said the permanent annual budget to operate Brackenwood Golf Course would cease and be removed from April 1, 2022. The Conservative Councillor said subject to the results of any public consultation, community groups or other organizations would be invited to express an interest in taking over assets that were considered as Surplus to the delivery of council services, which may provide value for the community.

Cllr Cameron was also asked what the council would do to protect assets such as Brackenwood before any community transfer is completed, with one member of the public asking the council to provide resources to protect the greens and agree for the community to take a lead role in looking after the course.

Cllr Cameron said there was no money allocated for this and if it were to be taken the funding would be needed to be taken from another service. On the question regarding the greens, she said that while the council would consider what could be done in the interim, there would be a cost for which there was no budget.

The council was also asked to commit to concluding the Community Asset Transfer (CAT) process within three months. On this question, Cllr Janette Williamson, the Labor leader of the council, said it could not yet be accurately determined how long it would take to facilitate a CAT as it would depend upon the quality of the expression of interest and business plan, but that officers would work through any expressions of interest as expediently as possible with their available capacity.

Candidates standing in Liscard in Wirral Council’s local elections on May 5:

  • Francis Doyle (Lib Dem)
  • Jane Owens (Conservative)
  • Perle Sheldricks (Green)
  • Janette Williamson (Labor)

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