The Council has carried out a marketing exercise to assess interest in investing in Whitewebbs to ensure the future viability of the golf course and/or deliver alternative leisure proposals.
The Council has now received 18 expressions of interest. Our agents are currently assessing these against the criteria.
The proposals include a number that propose retention of golf; some propose reducing the course to 9-holes; some propose adding driving ranges or other complementary facilities.
Other proposals do not include golf but propose other leisure uses and/or re-wilding of the landscape, nature or wildlife reserves and other woodland pursuits.
None of the proposals involve clearing the site to create a landfill as has been suggested by some parties.
Some of the proposals would involve the import of soil to remodel the golf course, for example, and as part of our assessment we would consider the scale, suitability and impact of those proposals in the context of delivering a viable and acceptable proposal. Any proposal based simply on importing soil would not be considered acceptable.
The next stage is to assess the proposals and take planning advice on some of them. We will then go back to bidders (after the General Election in December 2019) with enhanced criteria and a number of additional questions (which we will share openly) to enable them to submit final proposals and for us to eliminate any that do not meet the criteria.
The intention is to draw up a short list. We will engage with members and stakeholders at that stage before selecting a preferred partner.
Any preferred proposal is likely to require planning consent and we will ensure there is wide consultation prior to an application being lodged.