Agenda item

Llangefni Golf Course

To present the report of the Interim Head of Regulation and Economic Development.



The report of the Interim Head of Service (Regulation and Economic Development) on the options for the future of the Llangefni Golf Course following formal consultation was presented for the Committee’s consideration. The consultation outcome report detailing the submissions received and the Council’s response was appended.


Councillor Carwyn Jones, Portfolio Member for Major Projects and Economic Development provided background information to the Llangefni Golf Course highlighting that the facility was operating at a loss of around £28k per annum prior to its closure which the Council had to subsidise. The Executive in May 2018 endorsed in principle the intention to dispose of the Golf course and reinvest the proceeds in Plas Arthur Leisure Centre. The process has taken time and as with all other facets of society has been disrupted by Covid-29. Anglesey is well provided for in terms of golfing provision and the driving range facility in Llangefni which reopened in January 2019 under Golf Môn is proving very popular and successful and will remain open.


Councillor R.G. Parry, OBE, FRAgS, Portfolio Member for Highways, Waste and Property referred to the transfer in February 2015 of the management and responsibility for the golf course to Llangefni Partnership, a social enterprise in the town which after a review of the facility’s  financial performance  and an independent feasibility study, decided that it was unable to make the facility work financially in the long run whereupon the course was handed back to the Council and was subsequently mothballed.


The Interim Head of Service (Regulation and Economic Development) referred to the context confirming that following the Executive’s previous decision in 2018 to endorse in principle the disposal of the Golf course, the Service has been considering options for its its future. Participation figures have reduced and the running costs have become unsustainable. The Council is under a duty to consider the impact of a proposed disposal of playing fields on the health and wellbeing of a local community, to consult with the community and relevant consultees and to consider any representations made. Accordingly the Council undertook a formal consultation process between  12 October, 2020 and  30 November, 2020 and this was carried out in accordance with Regulation 5 of the Playing Fields (Community Involvement in Disposal Decision) (Wales) Regulations 2015.


The Economic Development Manager confirmed that in order to prepare for the public consultation external solicitors were commissioned to provide guidance and assistance to ensure full compliance with the Playing Fields Regulations 2015. Between October 2019 and March, 2020, Officers completed all formal site and press notices, a comprehensive and detailed consultation report, all supporting reports and impact assessments and also ensured that all internal ICT platforms were fully compliant.

Councillors Nicola Roberts and Dylan Rees spoke as Local Members and acknowledged that it was a difficult situation for them locally in that no one wanted to see the loss of an asset, but accepted that dwindling participant numbers at Llangefni Golf Course in recent years had made the facility unviable. They also noted that the Llangefni Partnership which took over the running of the Golf course in 2015 was not able to make it work financially and surrendered the lease. Councillor Nicola Roberts sought assurances about the conduct of the consultation and in the event of the Golf course being sold, that the funds  will be reinvested in local leisure facilities with any prospective sale of the facility being on the basis of best value even if that means splitting the sale into different lots. Councillor Dylan Rees in agreeing that insufficient demand made retaining the Golf Course unsustainable in the long term noted that it was deemed that there is sufficient golfing provision on Anglesey and that the driving range in Llangefni will in any case continue to operate; that Sports Wales as the only statutory consultee to respond to the consultation has no objection to the disposal of the facility and that in proposing to earmark the proceeds from the sale of the facility to improve the Plas Arthur Leisure Centre, for the benefit of the locality, the Authority is paying regard to health and well-being of the community.


The Economic Development Manager reaffirmed that the consultation process had been open to all and to ensure that it was undertaken safely and successfully, all formal notices were updated to include the extra measures set out in point 2.8 of the report. The Council has exceeded the Regulation 5 requirements in terms of minimum timescales for the proposed disposal to be available for public inspection with a full page colour notice placed in local and regional newspapers for 7 consecutive weeks from 12 October to 26 November, 2020.Oversight was provided by external solicitors who confirm that the consultation was compliant with the regulations. Should approval be given to dispose of the facility then the proceeds would be ring-fenced for investment in the Plas Arthur Leisure Centre and consideration will be given to securing maximum value from the sale.


Councillor Peter Rogers spoke with the consent of the Chair as a member who had taken a longstanding interest in the Llangefni Golf Course; he voiced his concerns about the way in which it was proposed the Golf Course be disposed of fearing that the land will be marketed at a time when it is looking its worst. He emphasised that having borne a loss on the Golf Course over a number of years the Council must obtain maximum value from its sale and he urged that the best way to achieve this would be by holding off on an immediate sale and looking instead at the possibilities for incorporating the land within the Joint Local Development Plan (JLDP) to maximise its value. 


In considering the future of the Llangefni Golf course the Committee was agreed that disposing of the facility was the best way forward and given the financial situation and the need to obtain value for money, that that should be done at the best possible price.

The discussion focused on whether the Council should proceed with the sale and begin to market the site comprising of the Ffridd household and accompanying 42 acres on the open market as recommended by Option 1 of the Officer’s report, or whether the sale should be delayed to allow for consideration to be given to opportunities for incorporating the land within the JLDP at the next review which would enhance its value as development land.


Officers responded with the following advice -

           That as the land is currently outside the development boundary, selling the land for development is not an option. Notwithstanding the JLDP will be reviewed, changing the development boundary would require robust justification.

           That the Golf course land has not been let since the facility was closed. Whilst the Council has maintained the facility by way of grass cutting which has then been sold as income for the Leisure Service, no other works have been undertaken so as not to prejudice any subsequent consultation or decision under the 2015 Playing Fields regulations.

           That placing an overage clause on the sale of the land would entitle the Council as the seller to share in a possible future increase in the land’s value. Should it be decided that the land be sold as agricultural land, an overage agreement would stipulate that if the land use changes within the timeframe of the agreement then the Council would profit from a percentage of the uplift in the land’s value at the time the change occurs.

           That the Ffridd property has remained empty since it ceased to be used as the greenkeeper’s house; it has been retained as it adds value to the site. The property is in a reasonable condition and apart from some maintenance work, does not require a great deal of expenditure. If a decision is made to proceed with the sale of the Golf Course then the land and the property would be lotted to maximise income.

Councillor Llinos Medi, Leader of the Council referred to the timescales and highlighted that it would  likely take some time to approve the inclusion of the Golf course land within the JLDP even if that could be justified which means delaying investment in the Plas Arthur Leisure Centre. She added that the Executive is keen to include some form of caveat in the sale of the land to provide protection to the Council in terms of ensuring it benefits from any future profit on the land.


Councillor Bryan Owen proposed that the sale of the Golf course land be delayed to allow options for incorporating the land in part or in full within the JLDP when the Plan is reviewed, to be explored.  Councillor J. Arwel Roberts in seconding the proposal, proposed that the Ffridd property could in the meantime be marketed on the open market and the proceeds of sale used for the benefit of Plas Arthur Leisure Centre. Councillor Bryan Owen agreed to the amendment.


Councillor Dylan Rees although he could understand the rationale for the proposal pointed out that an application for affordable housing in Tyn Coed, Llangefni was refused and was  turned down at appeal as it was considered that there is sufficient affordable housing supply in Llangefni. He proposed that Option 1 in the Officer’s report i. e. to proceed with the sale of the Golf course land and begin to market the site (Ffridd household and accompanying 42 acres) for sale on the open market be recommended to the Executive; the proposal was seconded by Councillor John Griffith.


The ensuing vote resulted in a tied vote. The proposal by Councillor Bryan Owen that consideration be given to incorporating the Llangefni Golf course land within the JLDP was carried on the casting vote of the Chair.


It was resolved to recommend to the Executive that the sale of the Llangefni Golf course land be delayed to allow consideration to be given to options for incorporating the land in part or in full within the Joint Local Development Plan when the Plan is reviewed, and that in the meantime the Ffridd property be marketed for sale on the open market and the proceeds of sale reinvested in the Plas Arthur Leisure Centre.

Supporting documents: