Wirral proposes plan for former golf course 

Brackenwood golf course closed in March 2022 due to Wirral Council budget cuts and a bid by the local community to reopen it has floundered – so what happens next? Tony McDonough reports

Former Brackenwood golf course in Bebington in Wirral


Wirral Council has put forward new proposals for the future of the former Brackenwood golf course which closed in March 2022.

A local community group had hoped to take on the course and reopen it but their plans have proven not to be viable. Now the council has put forward an alternative plan that would see it used for sports pitches, biodiversity and possibly allotments.

Dating back to 1885, the course was closed by Wirral Council which needed to slash £20m off its budget to avoid a financial crisis.

A local group was formed – Brackenwood Community Golf Limited – to try to preserve the course and reopen it. Wirral Council said it was willing to agree to an asset transfer.

However, Brackenwood Community Golf was unable to progress after the organisation told the council that they had concluded it is not viable to re-open the course as an 18-hole golf course.

This means a decision is needed on the future use of this site and a new report to the authority puts forward recommendations for councillors to consider.

Wirral Council said on Wednesday: “The golf course is located in the Green Belt and is therefore protected from inappropriate development – such as residential use – and only has value for open space/ outside sports and recreation uses which are compatible with the site’s Green Belt status.

“Brackenwood Community Golf has said it is willing to develop, with the council, a proposal for the site which provides for a short form of golf, a driving range and an increased number of grass playing pitches.”

However, Brackenwood Golf Club has said it is disappointed with the view of Brackenwood Community Golf and has itself advised that it would like an opportunity to bring forward a community asset transfer proposal.

It has ambitions to join forces with another golf operator to provide an 18-hole golf course with two full-sized grass playing pitches.

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Alternative uses of the site have been considered in the report. An independent valuation estimated the site’s value at £950,000 for use as a golf course and other open space recreation uses.

Another bid for community asset transfer is also an option, though the report highlights that the risk is, given the recent decision of Brackenwood Community Golf, that any future asset transfer proposals may also turn out not be viable.

The report recommends that the authority instead retains the golf course and use it for a combination of grass playing pitches for a variety of sports (without floodlights) and biodiversity net gain, to support the council’s Local Plan.

It also says the possibility of allotments for local residents should be explored on part of the site. It add there is significant demand for allotments in Wirral.

This report will be presented to Wirral Council’s Policy and Resources Committee at their meeting on July 17.

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