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Sefton Council Cabinet asked to approve plans to seek investment partner for Southport Golf Links

The shadow of a golfer swinging their club with the backdrop of a sunset

At their meeting on Thursday 10th March, Sefton Council Cabinet members will be asked to approve a new vision, and the plan to seek a commercial partner to invest in Southport Golf Links.

Golf Coast

Originally opened in 1912, the 18-hole, Council-owned, links course borders the town’s Marine Drive and forms part of England’s Golf Coast.

In the report to next week’s Cabinet Meeting, it is stated that the course remains popular, but with the right investment has the potential for significant improvements to the course and its facilities for golfers and non-golfers alike.

It is hoped an investment partnership would benefit the course itself as well as the on-site White House Café building, which aligns with feedback from local golfers received during a recent consultation exercise. Soft market testing carried out in 2021 indicates there are opportunities to explore investment through a formal tender process.

Pay and Play

As part of the proposals, the Council would retain management and operational control of the Southport Golf Links course itself, as a commitment to retaining it as a pay and play facility in a ‘municipal golf course’ manner. It will continue to be priced accordingly. There is also potential for a medium-term lease on the currently-closed White House Café for a partner willing to invest in the building. This would create new hospitality facilities for players and visitors..

The report also says that existing capital funds available via a prudential loan to create a driving range could be utilised as part of the project, as the intention remains to deliver new practice facilities on the site.

Huge potential

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing said: “Limited Council resources, due to reductions in Government funding over the past decade, means that while we can maintain the Southport Golf Links, it really needs significant capital investment through a partner organisation. This would enable it to achieve its huge, long-term potential and deliver the kind of course local golfers have told us they would like to play on.

“Plus, it could mean the re-opening of the White House Café as an on-site hospitality asset.”

If the proposals are approved at the meeting on Thursday 10th March, Sefton Council’s Cabinet would also be asked to approve the appointment of any potential commercial partner identified.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing said: “Sefton Council is keen to improve the offer for existing golfers and to give local people new to the sport, a chance to try it out.

“In January, we opened the new, £240,000 driving range at Bootle Golf Course and now we want to make similar improvements at Southport, on Sefton’s famous Golf Coast.”

Details of the Cabinet meeting can be found here.