Star Swindon golfer David Howell surprised at council move to transfer operation of its golf courses

This Is Wiltshire: David Howell David Howell

PROFESSIONAL golfer David Howell has stated his surprise at Swindon Council’s impending decision to transfer its golf courses to an external operator.

The two-time Ryder Cup winner began golfing at Broome Manor Golf Club in 1984, aged just nine, his summer days filled with 12-hour sessions of endless pitching and putting.

He has now moved to defend the future of his home course, as it lies in wait for new managers, who will be selected from a list of prospective bidders trying to take control of courses at Highworth and Moredon too.

“To hear the council think they can do better than running it themselves is a shame. It has been a long time since I have been an integral part of life at Broome Manor, so I don’t know the full situation,” the 38-year-old said.

“It has always seemed to turn a profit and pretty much helped the other facilities, including the other leisure centres, to stay afloat.

“I don’t know if that situation has changed drastically, but it’s certainly surprising to hear they want to get rid of it.”

The Broome Manor complex includes 27 holes across two courses, as well as a two-tier driving range, which has bred more professionals than just David.

The Dunhill Links winner said the manageable prices charged for use of the course should be protected by any new investor, or the future of young golfers in the town may be under threat.

“There are some other guys who have turned pro since me from that course, but it’s always been a great product for general golfers of Swindon too,” he said.

“It was cheap golf for juniors, really good value, and if that were to change, that would be a crying shame. It would be horrendous if it changed.”

The proposed transfer is a result of the council facing significant financial challenges, with an estimated £48m budget gap over the next three years.

The council is therefore looking at alternative ways of delivering services, and is inviting both commercial and not-for-profit companies to submit proposals to take over the running of many of its leisure centres and golf courses.

The facilities concerned are the golf courses at Broome Manor, Highworth and Moredon and six leisure centres; Croft Sports Centre, Delta Tennis Centre, Dorcan Recreation Complex, Haydon Centre, Healthy Hydro and the Link Centre. The proposal does not include Highworth Recreation Centre at this point.

The council would like to hear the views of the public and leisure and golf centre users about the proposals through an online questionnaire via the Leisure in Swindon website www.leisureinswindon.co.uk.

Meanwhile, GVA, the firm responsible for fielding interest in the facilities, has said there has been plenty of interest from established leisure companies looking to take hold of either the golf or leisure centre packages.

The consultation will run until 5pm on March 3. The results of the consultation will be presented to the council’s Cabinet in late spring to help inform councillors before a decision is made on a preferred bidder.

Comments (4)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

8:14am Fri 17 Jan 14

uruguay whitey the red says...

this is an awful thing for the sporting public of Swindon,prices will have to increase dramatically to turn a big profit for the private owners.the government bleats on about making more people share the Olympic legacy,another thing that didn't materialise!.are the Swindon public going to let this council sell off its prized assets?i very much hope not!
this is an awful thing for the sporting public of Swindon,prices will have to increase dramatically to turn a big profit for the private owners.the government bleats on about making more people share the Olympic legacy,another thing that didn't materialise!.are the Swindon public going to let this council sell off its prized assets?i very much hope not! uruguay whitey the red
  • Score: 5

11:48am Fri 17 Jan 14

Davey Gravey says...

Terrible news. Yet another of our facilities to be either sold off, cutback or privatised.
You can guarantee it will make things worse for the paying public just like the Oasis. Will there be any publicly owned public services and leisure facilities left. What will they do once they've flogged off everything there is to sell?
Terrible news. Yet another of our facilities to be either sold off, cutback or privatised. You can guarantee it will make things worse for the paying public just like the Oasis. Will there be any publicly owned public services and leisure facilities left. What will they do once they've flogged off everything there is to sell? Davey Gravey
  • Score: 1

12:23pm Fri 17 Jan 14

house on the hill says...

Davey Gravey wrote:
Terrible news. Yet another of our facilities to be either sold off, cutback or privatised.
You can guarantee it will make things worse for the paying public just like the Oasis. Will there be any publicly owned public services and leisure facilities left. What will they do once they've flogged off everything there is to sell?
And dont forget that Capita pretty much run the Council anyway (Corporate Finance, Corporate IT, HR, Council Tax, call centres and all admin processing), is there anything left that isn't run by someone else?
[quote][p][bold]Davey Gravey[/bold] wrote: Terrible news. Yet another of our facilities to be either sold off, cutback or privatised. You can guarantee it will make things worse for the paying public just like the Oasis. Will there be any publicly owned public services and leisure facilities left. What will they do once they've flogged off everything there is to sell?[/p][/quote]And dont forget that Capita pretty much run the Council anyway (Corporate Finance, Corporate IT, HR, Council Tax, call centres and all admin processing), is there anything left that isn't run by someone else? house on the hill
  • Score: 1

1:11pm Fri 17 Jan 14

back_to_reality says...

No point letting SBC know what your views areas they will simply be ignored.

The latest example of SBC style 'democracy': Richard Hurley's green waste charges.
No point letting SBC know what your views areas they will simply be ignored. The latest example of SBC style 'democracy': Richard Hurley's green waste charges. back_to_reality
  • Score: 2

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree