Update 6

Posted on: Sat Feb 8 by Tom Barlow

CALL TO ACTION 1 AND 2

Hopefully you all received our previous emails and will action in your own enthusiastic way!

Just to reiterate were asking Councillors: –

  • Have you read the Report on HIP?
  • Is it in the best interest of Blackpool and its residents?
  • Do you consider them fit and proper to undertake this concession?
  • Are you prepared to do anything to stop the signing of this contract, which will in effect gift this land to the developer for min 99years at a value significantly lower than its real value?

Many of the Councillors believe that this will all be resolved by the planning process, which is nonsense, so we need to drive home the message that they have got to stop them signing anything with HIP. Once they have signed, they will own the land.

Next Open Meeting

An apology!

We have not been able to confirm a date for the next open meeting, because if HIP sign a contract on the 1st of March 2020, they will become the golf clubs new landlords, and they may not take kindly to us meeting in the club house in order to undermine their future plans.

However, we have decided to fix a date for the 26th March 7pm Start by which time we should know if Blackpool Council intend to stick with or blow out HIP!

Watch this space in case of a change of venue!

Open Meeting 30th Jan

Another well attended meeting, and more than that.

Thanks to all those who have distributed or flyers we have new Guardians signing up each day.

The number of Guardians currently stands at 275.

Everyone attending was aghast at the background of Holmes Investment Properties, and the MD James Holmes, it would seem impossible for Blackpool Council to continue to tough it out, but that’s just what they appear to be doing, if the statements in the Gazette article of the 6th Feb.

https://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk/news/politics/council/stanley-park-golf-course-developer-dismisses-campaigners-mistake-fears-over-controversial-plans-1385541

The morning after the meeting BOGS steering group members were interviewed by Alison Butterworth of BBC Radio Lancashire.

This went out live on the Graham Liver morning show, at 7:40am.

You can listen on BBC Sounds website see below.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p0805xj3

The timeline is 1hr 39min into the show.

As you will hear there were comments from Blackpool Council who continue to state that no contract is due to be signed.

Also, a comment from HIP, who said that an open letter was being sent to the golf club within 24hrs of this interview.

Open Letter to Blackpool Park Golf Club Members

They claim that it is the councils process and procedures which have delayed HIP from being able to properly communicate with the stakeholders.

Their letter contained nothing new, they affirm that they will be taking over the course on the 1st March 2020, and that they will not commence any of the development until March 2021.

In March 2021 they will close the East Side of the course ready for development to commence.

They will also commence the alterations to the West Side of the course, along with the Club House.

They state: –

“New clubhouse facilities are in our plans and the opportunities that new facilities will allow us to offer by making this investment will ensure the long-term viability of the course. There is no doubt that this will change the current situation, but I am hopeful that a continued dialogue will ensure transparency between the club and ourselves. Any future plans will be subject to the commitments above to avoid disruption in 2020/2021, the planning constraints and I would hope, constructive suggestions to ensure a home for Blackpool Golf Club.”

The 12-month lag offers them the opportunity to push the investment opportunities which they need in order to get this development underway.

However, we had a Forensic Accountant review our report, and he made several suggestions on how we can improve our approach to the Council.

This was a very telling comment, and one which we will be passing on to Blackpool Council managers and elected members.

Recommendation

“Highlight publicly any haste on the part of the Leader of the Council to complete the deal in March 2020. The council has no urgency for £200,000. (It will likely not get the £2 million anyway because the current bidders could simply submit planning proposals that the council could not approve, at which stage the lease could be sold on for a substantial profit.)”

It seems to us that this scenario is exactly what fits with HIPs history and operating model, just the outcome HIP are looking for, they make a big profit and develop absolutely nothing.

HIP Appoint Contractors

Through a comment on Twitter they say: –

We’re pleased to confirm the appointment of our professional team for the development of the Stanley Park Golf Course as follows:

  • Lead Planning Consultants            @iceniProjects
  • Lead Architects                                @Ryder1953
  • Project Managers                            @ParagonBC

These three are all really high-profile companies, with offices across the UK, and some worldwide, and it appears that this is like dragging out the sledgehammer to crack a tiny nut!

Obviously from an investors point of view this looks great, but what can happen in situations like this is that, having brought in the investors, these companies can be sacked off at anytime and never participate in the development!

Are you Listening Blackpool Council?

Have hopefully demonstrated that HIP is not fit and proper, and as such should not be gifting them this concession!

We needed to provide the Council with an alternative option come 1st of April 2020 in terms of running the golf course.

The Stanley Park Golf Course Community Benefit Society have brought together Blackpool Park Golf Club and RM Estates as a no cost alternative for the Council

Had Councillors attendee the drop-in-sessions they would have seen that most of those municipal golf courses which were earmarked for closure in 2013, have survived and are prospering.

The presentation summary stated: –

As the above stories show, local authority golf has been challenged by budget cuts to councils. However, very few have closed down and, they have demonstrated that through a range of varied interventions these clubs are now not only self-sufficient, but in some cases are once again contributing to the councils coffers, but more importantly are contributing in a positive way to stronger healthier communities.

Copies of the presentation have been circulated to the Councillors and the Management Team.

So, we can only hope that they are prepared to listen?

They think it’s all over!

Let’s hope the response is not “it is now” come the 1st of March 2020

End