Stark economic gap between Liverpool golf courses shows as deal for Allerton fall through
As the Open tees off at one famous Liverpool golf club, the deal to secure a nearby 91-year-old municipal venue falls through.
Allerton Golf Course was to be sold by Liverpool City Council after the authority said it could no longer afford to run it.
However, an agreement with Glendale Golf, an organisation that runs several golf centres in England, has collapsed after the company wanted to close the course for 100 days in the year for ‘commercial reasons’.
This was rejected as it represented a ‘significant change’ to a provisional agreement it had made with the council earlier this year. A spokeswoman for the local authority said if the change has been allowed then the levels of service would have been reduced.
Councillor Wendy Simon said: “Regrettably, we have not been able to reach agreement with Glendale Golf over the transfer of Allerton Golf Course.
“We have always been clear that we would only transfer the courses if it is in the best interests of golfers and the council.
“Glendale Golf asked to make a substantial alteration to the contract which we considered would not be in the best interests of the people who use the course. Both parties have agreed it would be wise to end contractual discussions at this stage.
“We will now be going back out to the market and are confident that we will find another operator willing to take over the course.”
Official Louise Gray added: “Despite our best efforts to arrive at a suitable conclusion, Glendale Golf have confirmed that they are unwilling to negotiate on their requirement to close the course for 100 days at their discretion and no longer wish to pursue the running of Allerton Golf course. Discussions have now been terminated.”
Simon also stated that the golf course will remain open and in the council’s control for the time being.
Richard Kemp CBE, the former leader of the Liberal Democrats in local government, said plans for the golf course should now be radically changed.
“In my view the council should immediately start to negotiate with the golfers about them taking over the course,” he said. “They were not given a chance to establish a social enterprise to run the course because the city council was hell bent on a purely private sector solution.”
This is the second setback for Liverpool golf within a few days, as the announcement regarding who will develop the multi-million pound golf resort in Wirral, which was to be made during the Open Championship, has been delayed.
Wirral council’s leader Phil Davies confirmed the announcement of the preferred developer for the scheme is now expected in August or September.
He said: “There is nothing untoward about it, it’s just taking longer to complete the negotiations than expected.”
Last summer the council’s ruling cabinet approved plans to spend almost £200,000 on specialist consultants to help select a developer for the scheme.
The 300-acre site intended to be the home of the golf resort is next door to Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, the location for the 2014 Open Championship.
Earlier this week, in a stark contrast to the issues Allerton is facing, the PGA wrote an article about 2013 Open champion Phil Mickelson drinking a $40,000 bottle of wine out of the Claret Jug.