The course map of the delightful Woolton Golf Club which is
threatened by development
Yesterday I received a copy of a letter which has been given to all members of the Woolton Golf Club inviting them to a General Meeting next week. The letter was a bombshell to me and many others in the Allerton, Hunts Cross and Woolton areas. It basically said two things:
1. That it wanted Members to note an agreement to accept an option on the Golf Club land from a developer for three years and to establish a subcommittee to look at the full implications of the option and presumably the development of the site.
2. That this would enable the Club to move to Allerton Golf Club.
You might argue that this is none of my business. It’s a private organisation which can do what it likes. Normally that would be true but not in this case.
The land at Allerton Golf Course is owned by the Council which last year awarded a 25 year lease to a company to run it. The lease is very clear that this must be run on the principles of a Municipal Course i.e. reasonably priced admission to the course on a pay-as-you-go basis. I visited them today and have been assured that they know absolutely nothing about this idea. All the reports I have are that this course is being well operated and will shortly put in a planning application for a much needed renovation of their ‘listed building’ club house.
I am further reassured by a statement from the Council that neither the Mayor nor officers have been in negotiations with anyone about the possibility of a new lessee or owner for the land.
So why do the officers of the Woolton Club believe that a move is feasible? Who have they been talking to?
At their end there would be a massive campaign of opposition in the surrounding Allerton, Hunts Cross and Woolton areas to any development. That Golf Course (as is the Allerton Club) is a massive lung and more importantly water catchment zone for rain from the area. 20 years ago when a redevelopment was proposed the drainage of the area was one of the major reasons for rejection. A development of this size would be subject to an automatic call-in. Frankly, I cannot see either the Council or DCLG giving permission for such a development which is rumoured to be for housing and a shopping centre/supermarket.
So Woolton GC members might just find themselves selling their land but with nowhere to go to play golf. The best thing that they could do is chuck out the proposal on Tuesday night and get on with improving their handicap!
Malcolm Kelly, Woolton Ward, Mirna Juarez, Allerton/Hunts Cross Ward and I have written to the Woolton Golf Club outlining our objections. We hope that the Club will listen.
The Club did not listen and according to the Echo have decided to accept the option with a view to selling the land and moving to Allerton Golf Club.
This is not accpetable so I ahve tabled the following motion to the enxt Council meeting in March. I have asked for this to eb treated as an All-Party motion as I am hopeful all Councillors will support it.
Motion to Council
Woolton & Allerton Golf Clubs
Council notes that the members of Woolton Golf Club have voted by a large majority to allow an option to a developer to develop its land and move to Allerton Golf Club.
1. Reaffirms its belief that the Woolton Golf Club should remain as green space in the Local Development Framework currently being finalised; and
2. Notes that this decision could cause problems to the lessees of Allerton Golf Club in their plans to redevelop the Club House; improve the Course and attract more players reaffirms its view that the current remaining lease of 24 years for the Club should be reaffirmed along with its commitment to maintain the Course as a reasonably priced turn up and pay municipal course.
Cllr Richard Kemp CBE