Corby taxpayers funding unpopular golf course

2013 file pic of Priors Hall golf course.
2013 file pic of Priors Hall golf course.

Corby taxpayers are picking up the tab for an unprofitable and unpopular golf course which is currently costing up to £100,000 per year to run and break even.

Corby Council took over the running of the 143-acre Priors Hall Golf course in Weldon last September after contractor Ruspro Ltd who had been running the facility gave up the contract because of financial problems.

Since it brought the management in-house, discussions about the golf course have been held in private, with the council saying this has been done for commercial sensitivity reasons.

At a private session of the One Corby Policy committee being held tomorrow at Corby Cube (Tues) councillors will decide what to do with the facility.

Options understood to be considered are closing the course down, tendering the contract, the council entering into a partnership with a private company, or keeping the management of the failing facility in-house.

The council has a 99-year lease on the Tata Steel site and rents it for a very small fee each year.

Corby Council leader Tom Beattie said: “For the past 12 months the golf course has been been in the hands of the council but a decision needs to be made.

“Golf courses are not cheap places to run.”

The leader said he had no issue with taking the matter to the public to have their say on what to do with the course, however so far all talk about the course have been kept between officers and councillors.

Minutes from a One Corby policy meeting held in February said ‘the transfer of the golf course back to the council had gone reasonably smoothly although it had been very resource intense. Improvements to the course and clubhouse had been ongoing to bring the facilities up to a more acceptable level.

“The committee noted that Ii was envisaged that further expenditure would be required over the next five years with replacing the older grounds maintenance and upgrading the facilities and course.”

It is understood that the sports venue needs to raise an income of about £300,000 each year to break even and currently has about 150 members, with numbers falling off over recent times because of the condition of the course.

There is another golf course in the Corby borough in Cottingham just seven miles away.

The male-dominated sport has dwindled in popularity over the past decade.

According to Sport England’s 2017 survey there were 740,000 people playing the sport each week, a decrease of 200,000 since 2010.