AS a resident I might agree with your headlines “Revised plans for golf clubhouse welcomed by residents” if I knew how it was to be financed.
The only indication that the town council has given so far is by a loan which will be under written by council taxpayers of Seaford.
So far the reported expenditure is £47,510 in 2010 and now £24,750 and this was raised by increasing town council tax by 33 per cent which has never been reduced.
To spend Seaford council taxpayers’ money on what is likely to be £100,000 on preliminary works before building cost is even considered, without a clear statement as to how it is going to be financed and under written is totally unacceptable.
As a council taxpayer and season ticket holder, I was surprised to read in my season ticket renewal letter from Seaford Town Council that “Seaford Town Council and Seaford Head Golf Club are aware that times are hard and as such; have not increased the season tickets this year”.
As golfers are not necessarily residents of Seaford, this shows the contempt that Seaford Town Council has for its own council taxpayers where their council tax is increased year on year.
Building cost and consultant’s fees are likely to be very high with portable buildings being necessary while the redevelopment of the existing site takes place.
This is a district facility. Therefore if it needs to be owned and run by the public sector rather than private sector the cost and substantial increased running cost risk should rest with the district council. Several season ticket holders also come from the Eastbourne area.
In my view the golf club buildings should be ancillary to this small golf course situated in a National Park and not some large multifunctional building with additional large covered terraces.
Such buildings are available elsewhere in the developed area of Seaford and Eastbourne, or on much larger golf courses.
If the new proposal is approved, no public money should be used and the town council via its planning approval should only act as a facilitator to the private sector.
If the private sector cannot make it work with a business plan and risk assessment based on their vast experience, and adequate safe guards to the residents, golfers and taxpayers, then it should be shelved and a more modest approach taken. Town councillors should not be allowed to speculate and take commercial risks with town council taxpayer money on low priority services.
If the private sector can make it work without damaging other businesses in Seaford I will of course be very happy to agree with your headlines.
John A Bailey BSc MA FRICS, Seaford