To consider the outcome of the public consultation, launched by the Parks and Countryside service, on proposals for the area of land where Temple Newsam golf course is currently located.
Further to minute 58 of the meeting held 3 December 2019, the report of the Director of Communities and Environment outlined the findings of the public consultation on proposals for the land currently occupying the golf course at Temple Newsam Estate.
The following were in attendance for this item:
· Councillor Rafique, Executive Member for Environment and Communities
· Councillor Firth, Referrer
· James Rogers, Director of Communities and Environment
· Sean Flesher, Chief Officer Parks & Countryside
· Emma Trickett, Senior Projects Manager
The Chief Officer Parks and Countryside, informed the Board that there had been a general consensus for the golf course to retain 18 holes and two 9 hole golf courses. It had also been reported that an online petition to stop the closure of the golf course, had acquired 2886 signatures.
Councillor Sharpe in her capacity as ward member for Temple Newsam, and on behalf of her ward colleagues had commended the outcome of the public consultation and expressed her view that the proposed facilities would encourage a wider range of age groups to the area.
The Chair invited Councillor Firth to speak, whom had originally presented the request for scrutiny. Councillor Firth informed the Board of concerns regarding the data contained within the report and requested these be re-visited to reflect the future investment of the golf course and the Council’s current financial strains.
In responding, the Chief Officer Parks and Countryside informed the Board that the draft proposals had been submitted including details referring to the golf course, and that these would be contained within the report ahead of the future Executive Board meeting.
Members of the Board expressed general concerns regarding the financial aspects of the golf course, specifically in terms of its future investment and affordability. It was requested that information be made clear and available to Members in the upcoming Executive Board report. In responding, the Chief Officer Parks and Countryside explained a draft business case currently under review contained that information, and would be set out in an Executive Board report at a later date. Furthermore, it was highlighted that monies borrowed, wouldn’t add to any existing revenue pressures and it was intended that the café would drive a surplus revenue, as would hosting events to drive additional funding.
In summarising his position Councillor Firth reiterated the need for the financial concerns to be addressed, and to understand the sustainability of the golf course. The Chief Officer Parks and Countryside agreed that comprehensive details regarding finance would be included in a future Executive Board report, and that these would be made available to the public.
The Chair sought and received agreement from the Board that the following conclusions should be reflected in the recommendations to the Executive Board:
- The Board welcomed the work and effort of officers to address the issues raised through the Referral to Scrutiny process.
- The Board welcomed the detail provided through the consultation, noting members were satisfied that the consultation had been conducted in a clear, thorough and effective manner.
- Members endorsed the conclusions set out by the Chief Officer for Parks and Countryside in his closing remarks to the Board.
- The Board recommends that the Executive Board report includes clarity regarding affordability as part of the presentation of a robust business case.
- The Board recommends ongoing communication with all local stakeholders to minimise and mitigate any concerns ahead of the Executive Board meeting.
The Chair thanked officers for their attendance.
RESOLVED – The Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing and Communities):
a) Noted the contents of the report, along with members comments raised during the meeting;
b) Requested that the information relating to finances be reflected in the upcoming Executive Board report, together with clear recommendations for the golf course as set out by the Chair at the conclusion of this item.