Company linked to golf star Ian Woosnam would like to take over Blackpool's Stanley Park course

Ian Woosnam competing at the British Senior Open at Royal Lytham and St Annes
Ian Woosnam competing at the British Senior Open at Royal Lytham and St Annes
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The operators of a company backed by top professional golfer Ian Woosnam have said they want to run Blackpool's under-threat Stanley Park golf course.

RM Estates Ltd has already taken charge of other council-owned courses in the North West which they say have seen membership growth.

Campaigners holding a protest outside Blackpool Town Hall

Campaigners holding a protest outside Blackpool Town Hall

Blackpool Council has revealed plans for an Adrenalin World attraction on part of the Stanley Park greens which would see the course reduced from 18 holes to nine.

Tony Minshall, who runs RM Estates with backers including Woosnam who competed at the British Senior Open at Royal Lytham and St Annes this year, said: "When I found out it was a Mackenzie course of which there are only 49 left in the world, I contacted the club because it needs to be preserved.

"Our background is taking council-owned courses, restoring them and providing golf for people who can't afford to be a member of a private club.

"Ian Woosnam and I started together and have always liked this style of golf, which is to keep it cheap and get young people on the courses."

Mr Minshall, who visited the Park Golf Club on North Park Drive to speak to members about his proposals, said the company had a turnover of £1.3m from its current three courses.

These include Malkins Bank at Sandbach, Queens Park in Crewe and Ellesmere Port which had been previously operated by Mack Trading, the company which also ran the Stanley Park course before it collapsed.

Head greenkeeper is Ian Woosnam's brother Gareth.

Mr Minshall added: "All they need is someone who can operate it and knows what they are doing."

More than 8,000 people have signed a petition calling for the course to be saved from development.

The council chose Holmes Investment Properties (HIP) as its development partner fo the golf course following a procurement process earlier this year, which RM Estates did not enter.

HIP wants to invest £45m in a scheme which would see an Adrenalin World attraction and 250 holiday lodges built on land between Blackpool Victoria Hospital and Salisbury Woodland.

Golf would be retained on the east side of the side with a nine-hole course and driving range.

However, campaigners are continuing their battle to save the open space.

Christine Parker, who organised the petition, said: "Our long term aim is still to retain the public open space on the east side of the golf course for all the residents and wildlife.

"The next step is to pull together people with different expertise from every aspect including the golf, the environment and the heritage side."

The Stanley Park course opened in 1925 and was designed by Dr Alister MacKenzie who laid out more than 50 golf courses including Augusta, which is home to the US Masters.