Council approves plans to pause Beacon Golf Course and to explore a new leisure offer for the area
- Decision will present exciting opportunities to develop the area for all
- Plans will support health and wellbeing of residents
- Public consultation will welcome everyone's views
At a meeting of Full Council on 14 December 2022, approval was given for the closure of the golf course at Beacon Country Park and for Officers to undertake an options appraisal for how the area may look and develop in the future. The move received unanimous backing from all councillors present at the meeting.
This decision will present an exciting opportunity to develop the Park's facilities and green spaces and to maximise the benefit of the area for all residents of the Borough, as well as helping to grow visitor numbers from outside the area who will bring in vital economic investment.
Officers will now undertake an options appraisal for future development possibilities for the site which will be in keeping and complimentary to the beautiful landscape of the Park. The options appraisal work will include a full consultation with the public and key stakeholders.
There will be opportunities to create improved facilities to benefit both local people and visitors such as outdoor activity options for families and improved play area spaces similar to other parks located within the North West, that will enable people of all ages and abilities to enjoy the facilities on offer.
It has also been agreed that the day-to-day operation of the café will transfer from contractors Serco to the Council. As part of the plans, the Council will be improving the access road to the site and undertaking minor refurbishment of the café and toilet facilities as well as looking at potential for operational/menu changes. The Council's Community Connector Team will also be able to make use of the facilities at the Beacon, opening up further opportunities to work with the community and key partners. The changes to the café will be designed to support the Council's priority of improving the health and wellbeing of people in the Borough.
Councillor Carl Coughlan, portfolio holder for Leisure, said: "These plans will open up so many opportunities to improve Beacon Country Park for everyone and will create a more engaging, accessible green space that will rival any similar park in the North West - the potential for improvements in health and wellbeing for our residents and the income generated by increasing visitors is an opportunity we cannot ignore.
"The current golfing facility has for many years required a significant subsidy to run. The decision taken represents the beginning of the journey in West Lancashire to reshape and revitalise our Health Wellbeing and Leisure offer, and I am grateful for the cross-party support to help us deliver the first significant step on this journey.
"Although this decision will not be welcomed by all it is important to note that there are many high-quality golfing facilities available within a short travel distance. And during these difficult economic times, the Council need to ensure we serve the majority of our residents rather than a small minority.
"We are eager to hear residents' thoughts on how they think the current space occupied by the golf course can be used and what they would like to see there so we'll be 'opening up the floor' in a consultation as soon as is appropriate. I would like to reassure everyone that we are committed to this site remaining dedicated to health, wellbeing and leisure and that all residents' views will be heard and will help us to shape any plans moving forward."