Falkirk Council: Grangemouth Golf Club step nearer to community ownership
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On Tuesday, members of Falkirk Council’s executive approved the plan, in the hope that the club will take full ownership of the course, clubhouse and associated buildings within the next five years through a Community Asset Transfer (CAT).
To allow the transfer to go ahead, however, Falkirk Council will have to buy land from Transport Scotland at a cost of £20,000.
While progressing the lease, it was discovered that 3.19 acres had been acquired by Transport Scotland in 1967 to enable construction of the M9, although it was not needed for the actual motorway.
The lease agreement also means transferring equipment used for the maintenance of the course, which the report says currently has a cumulative asset value of nearly £170,000.
But councillors also heard that without the transfer, the council would be £200,000 worse off and the course, which has been there since 1974, would almost certainly have to close.
Overall, councillors heard, the benefits of transfer far outweigh any costs and they were assured that if the venture fails, the property will return to Falkirk Council.
Councillor Paul Garner, spokesperson for economic development, said he was extremely pleased to see the report, knowing how much the course means to members of the club and the community.
He said: “In line with our commitment to building stronger and healthier communities, the transition to a new community benefit lease agreement is a pivotal step forward for Grangemouth Golf Club and signifies our dedication to empowering the club to shape its own future.
“The transfer of maintenance equipment will help sustain the club’s operational capabilities and service within the community.”
The transfer was first proposed to Falkirk Community Trust by members of the club in December 2017, but reaching an agreement has proved difficult.
Since April 2021, the club has been licensed to operate and manage the course while the Community Trust – and more recently Falkirk Council – have continued to employ and manage the staff.
The committee of volunteers who run the club currently spend an average of 122 hours every week, unpaid, which would be worth at least £70,000 in wages.
But there are still some obstacles to overcome as the three members of staff who work there may not want to transfer.
Negotiations between staff, trade unions, the council and the club are ongoing and Falkirk Council has confirmed that they may choose to be redeployed by the council rather than transfer.