Agenda item

From County Councillor David Martin, Underwood:

 

Question1

To Councillor Tim Brown:

 

“Has Councillor Tim Brown made any more headway with the Labour Party’s future plans for the closure of Selston Golf Course? I believe this is a valuable community asset and all that can be done, should be done to ensure it is preserved, would Cllr Brown agree?”

 

Question 2

To Councillor Tim Brown:

 

“Why is there no funding available for any of our other recreational facilities like Jacksdale's Wharf Green, as there is across the rest of the District as we contribute through our Council tax base to the District as well?”

Minutes:

In accordance with Council Procedure Rule 11, the following questions had been submitted by County Councillor Martin who was present at the meeting in order to read out his questions.

 

From County Councillor David Martin, Underwood:-

 

Question1

To Councillor Tim Brown:

 

“Has Councillor Tim Brown made any more headway with the Labour Party’s future plans for the closure of Selston Golf Course? I believe this is a valuable community asset and all that can be done, should be done to ensure it is preserved, would Cllr Brown agree?”

 

The Portfolio Holder for Environment, Councillor Tim Brown, responded to the question as follows:-

 

“I’d like to thank Councillor Martin for his question.  On the 19th January, 2017, Cabinet took a decision to work with Nottinghamshire County Council in identifying any interested parties to take over the operation of Selston Golf Course which would enable the Council to be released from its lease obligations.

 

The Council set a timetable up to the 31st march, 2017 to seek an alternative provider for the site or we would initiate plans to turn the site into a country park.  Despite Ashfield District Council working with County officers to prepare a marketing plan and making steps to initiate that plan, a delay in decision making at County Hall has prevented the marketing of the site at this time.

 

Since then, officers of the Council have promoted the marketing of the site by the County Council and represented the views of Selston Parish to the County Council.  At this time as far as we are aware, the County Council are still considering their position as it is having a review of all its assets.

 

The Council has maintained the site for more than planned in order to gain the County Council more time to progress the marketing plan.  Whilst it is recognised that the site is a resource for the local community to enjoy, sales indicate that the golf course is no longer a viable business.  The cost to this Authority of subsidising a small number of golfers, some of them are not local, is in the region of £78,000 per year.  Running the course for longer than planned affected our budget negatively and we are now at a point where we need to act.  Therefore when the golf club closes on the 17th December for its annual Christmas holiday closedown, it will not re-open in January 2018.

 

However, we will maintain the course for a further month into January to give the County one last opportunity to market the site as a golf course.  If by the end of January there is no movement on this then we will begin to implement a community park project. 

 

Turning the site into a community park will enable the community to continue to enjoy the site for dog walking and as a beautiful open space.  Whilst this may not be everyone’s preferred option, we should note it was a popular choice during the consultation period and is what many people currently use the site for.”

 

The Chairman then gave County Councillor Martin the opportunity to ask a supplementary question and he responded as follows:-

 

“Thanks you Chair.  I just want to ask why the possibilities of outsourced management and community enterprise partnerships were not explored from January this year because you’ve still got eight years left on the lease.”

 

Councillor Tim Brown responded to the supplementary question as follows:-.

 

“We’ve looked at all options and we’ve consulted widely and we have been involving the rural district councils in the discussion process around the country park/golf course.

 

As far as we are concerned, the lease is running out, it’s costing us £78,000 per year, it’s an underused sports facility and really it is up to the County Council to make its mind up on moving it on as a viable solution.  We just want to remove ourselves from the lease.”

 

Question 2

To Councillor Tim Brown:

 

“Why is there no funding available for any of our other recreational facilities like Jacksdale's Wharf Green, as there is across the rest of the District as we contribute through our Council tax base to the District as well?”

 

The Portfolio Holder for Environment, Councillor Tim Brown, responded to the question as follows:-

 

“The Council’s capital funding available for parks and recreation grounds is obtained through Section 106 contributions which comes from developers.  There are relatively low levels of development in the Rurals therefore consequently, there are low levels of Section 106 monies available to spend.

 

To date, money which has become available has been allocated through the Rural Area Committee and the following amounts are currently allocated in the Rural areas:

 

Holly Hills - £7,000

Jubilee Recreation Ground - £2,000 

Jacksdale Bridge Bridleway - £10,000.

 

Money to be allocated in the future is currently around £12,000 although spending allocations will be reviewed in 2018 with the consultation of the Rural Members.  The most recent allocation of Section 106 money was for Green Wells Park in Selston of £98,000 which was supplemented by grants secured of £57,000.”

 

The Chairman then gave County Councillor Martin the opportunity to ask a supplementary question and he responded as follows:-

 

“As Ashfield Council now holds just under £40 million in unallocated reserves, would the Council not agree with me that this is a wholly unjustified dereliction of their responsibilities to the residents of Selston Parish and the wider District?”

 

Councillor Tim Brown responded to the supplementary question as follows:-.

 

“The supplementary question doesn’t really relate to the first question.  No….I don’t think we’ve got £40 million in unmarked reserves but I’m not going to get into that debate today.  If you want to discuss anything further around the parks within the Rural areas then I will speak to you separately.”

 

(During questions from the public, Councillor Mick Murphy entered the meeting at 7.13 p.m.)