Stanley Park golf course developer dismisses campaigners' 'mistake' fears over controversial plans
Campaigners battling to save part of Blackpool’s Stanley Park golf course from being built on have claimed the developer does not have the necessary experience or financial backing for the £45m project.
But Holmes Investment Properties (HIP), which wants to build an Adrenalin World attraction and up to 250 holiday lodges on the eastern part of the council-owned course, has dismissed the fears.
The firm says its plans would increase the number of players able to enjoy the facilities.
Discussions have started between HIP and Blackpool Council, with a planning application expected be submitted in the next few months.
Campaigners opposed to the scheme, which would see the course reduced to nine holes, have met with the town’s MPs Paul Maynard - who called for the deal to be scrapped in the run-up to the general election - and Scott Benton to air their concerns.
A spokesman said: “The council seems determined to press ahead despite the fact HIP has never delivered a project like this, does not appear to have the money to build what is promised and the track record of the people behind the company is questionable at best.
“We are urging the council to reconsider and not sign this deal before all the facts have been considered.
“We risk losing the land as part of the golf course and ending up undeveloped – we can’t allow that mistake to be made.”
But a spokesperson for HIP said: “The HIP team has extensive commercial experience and is investing in sites across the UK that will host leisure and entertainment.
“Our collaboration with David Lloyd, one of the biggest names in UK leisure, is set to deliver a fantastic concept in the form of Adrenalin World, as well as secure golf at Stanley Park for years to come.”
HIP said it will continue to operate the full 18-hole course until the end of March 2021. It has also committed to taking over all existing staff at the club, pledged to freeze subscriptions and says it hopes to provide new clubhouse facilities.
In an open letter HIP chief executive Michael Simmonds says he hopes the investment will “ultimately increase the number of people that get to enjoy the course.”
He adds: “This will not happen without changes and not all the changes will be welcomed by all.
“However whether it is immediate or over time I am hopeful the benefits will be seen and appreciated by the majority.”
A spokesperson for Blackpool Council said: “As part of our normal procedures we will complete our due diligence before we enter into any contracts.
“The contract will be conditional on milestones being satisfied in order to protect the council’s interests.”