Why Is The Course Closed?
Derby City Council closed the course on 31st December 2020, following an unsuccessful process to identify a suitable operator despite over 75% of respondents to the consultation process stating that it was important to the local area.
The original Derby City Council Process
Derby City Council agreed a deal to sell Allestree Hall in 2019. The potential buyer wanted to refurbish Allestree Hall and utilise it as a wedding venue, they expressed no interest in operating the adjacent Allestree Park Golf Course.
A public consultation process resulted in over 75% of respondents expressing a wish for the golf course to continue in operation.
The course was offered to potential operators by Derby City Council via an Expression of Interest process, commencing in December 2019 with the intention of completion by May 2020. The Expression of Interest document issued by Derby City Council for this process (available here) demanded that the golf course be operated at zero cost to the Council
Four bidders responded to the EOI process and were assessed against the scoring process defined by Derby City Council (available here). Our group has obtained a redacted version of the scores achieved by each bidder (available here), which shows two bidders achieved very high scores against all criteria set out by Derby City Council for a successful bid. These bidders were rejected as they requested a subsidy to operate the course.
All documentation referenced is a matter of public record and has been obtained by our group via The Freedom of Information Act 2000.
Why the Process Should Be Undertaken Again
- The EOI process makes no reference to the history of the golf course and that it was designed by the historically significant designer, Harry S Colt. This information would increase the marketability of the course to prospective bidders and may have had a positive impact on their commercial proposals.
- The marketing to prospective bidders did not include coverage through recognised channels in the golfing industry.
- The Council did not declare the level of subsidy budgeted for return of the golf course to parkland and the ongoing maintenance thereof. This subsidy should have been made available to bidders so the process could be undertaken on a fair and equal basis. It is unknown if this would have resulted in one or both of the high scoring bidders being successful as the Council have failed to answer our FOI Act request to declare the subsidies requested and the costs associated with returning the golf course to parkland.
- The EOI document requires facilities to maintain and operate the course to be transferred to another location following the sale of the Hall. The Council have made no provision for where these facilities could be transferred to on the existing site.
- The EOI document states income in 2018/19 from green fees of £118,700 for 16,174 rounds, which equates to £7.34 per round. The EOI document is silent on why this is low when compared to the stated midweek/weekend green fees of £12/£16 per round.