Stanley Park G.C. Community Benefit Society Letter to Labour Councillors.

Posted on: Wed Sep 23 by Tom Barlow

Blackpool Labour Councillor’s , Town Hall, Talbot Square, Blackpool. (By Email)

 Appropriation of Land known as Stanley Park Golf Course

We are contacting you to ask you to set aside any political partisan politics and consider this issue in the light of this post Covid 19 world.

The majority of Councillors were not privy to the discussions with HIP prior to the procument process, which resulted in the appointment of HIP as the successful bidder, but you will be aware that this process should have started with a wide ranging consultation with residents and other interested parties, which would normally result in a range of alternative suggestions for the future development of this site.

The simple fact is that the bid which was awarded to HIP is now in fact defunct!

Any hope of raising the 42-million-pound investment, which was a tall order pre-Covid, must now be significantly diminished with tourism and leisure being the hardest hit, with another 17,000 jobs losses announced today in tourism and leisure alone.

We are simply requesting that you set aside the option to appropriate this land, and instead vote for an option to go to consultation with the residents of Blackpool, which may result in a wider range of options for the future use of this land. If the outcome of the consultation, then requires that the land be appropriated then this process can be revived.

It is not just HIP’s investment options which could be a risk, as you will know HIP have set up a limited company, Stanley Park Golf Course Ltd (SPGCLtd) to run the golf course. As already stated, if the investment is not forthcoming will this investment company want to settle for running a golf course, or will they, as their trading record show, just walk away or worse liquidate the business?

If they do then once more the council will face the option of what to do with this facility!

Senior Managers within Blackpool Council have served to mislead councillors now and in the past in relation to this land and in particular the financial viability of the golf course, and this continues to this day.

In the executive report, the senior managers again misinformed you, they have told you this would require another procurement process, this is not the case, the council have the option, as Tameside Council did in relation to Heaton Park Golf Course, to award a short term contract, and as Blackpool have now done with SPGCLtd.

They have taken this action, while the contractor considers the wisdom of signing a long-term lease in this challenging climate.

We want you to be aware that should HIP and SPGCLtd decide for whatever reason that they no longer wish to continue, our Community Benefit Society would be ready, willing and able to take over and in so doing deliver addition revenue to the council from this facility.

We have revised our business plan and adapted it to neutralise those issues which appeared to hinder our original bid.

In addition, we have: –

  • Register the CBS under Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014.
  • Sought additional financial support.
  • Established new and broader pledge scheme to develop a secure financial foundation.
  • Researched bids for charitable funding community-based projects.
  • Establishment of a volunteer register, who will work with other groups across the town such as Friends of Stanley Park and The Windmill Youth Group to promote projects to a broader demographic including those most disadvantaged.

It is our intention to use the CBS as a force for good, irrespective of the current position concerning the development of the course.

Our argument for investing in a community solution is strengthened by a recent report from the Onward Foundation, “The State of our Social Fabric 2020”, which identifies Blackpool as an area of Fraying Social Fabric, the Community Benefit Society will help reverse this trend through its social inclusion. Unlike HIP who are only interested in profit for their investors and shareholders?

So should HIP find at any time, that they are unable to continue we would be ready to step into the breach, and as we have offered previously, take on the management, improvement, and development of Stanley Park Golf Course, to the benefit of Blackpool Council and residents.

Yours faithfully

Tom Barlow

Chairman SPGC – CBS