Cuts-hit council looks to commercial partners to run golf facility

One of the councils hit hardest by government cuts is set to hive off two municipal golf courses to save itself well over £1m.

A report to Liverpool City Council cabinet next week will recommend it enters a 25-year arrangement with Formby Hall Golf Club to operate links at North Liverpool and Allerton golf course with Glendale Golf.

"It will wipe out an overspend and subsidy which is estimated to total £339,000 this financial year alone – saving the city around £1.7m over the next five years," said a council spokesman.

"The council has insisted the incoming commercial partners must continue to provide affordable and accessible pay-and-play golf.

"They will also be encouraged to invest in the courses through upgrades and appropriate additional facilities to attract customers."

The spokesman said due to the nature of the arrangement the law required the council to advertise the initiative as a disposal of a facility.

However the site would retain the same use and remain in the ownership of the council, he insisted. Operators are due to take over the courses by April 2014.

Assistant mayor Wendy Simon, said: "This will not just save money but secure the future of two long-standing sports areas. We can no longer afford to subsidise the courses to almost £5 per round.

"This proposal will make sure they continue to operate at a price that is affordable to users and receive investment to make them sustainable in the long term.

"We are having to make tough decisions due to the severe cuts in central government funding but we are determined to do all we can to make sure we find alternative and innovative ways of securing the future of well-loved community facility."

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