More decisions were taken by Hertsmere Borough Council on Wednesday (March 21) to secure the future of Bushey Country Club.
Hertsmere Leisure Trust, which manages Hertsmere Borough Council’s leisure contract, is ending its arrangement to operate the council-owned Bushey Country Club from April 1 having agreed with the council that the financial losses associated with the site were no longer sustainable.
At last night’s meeting, the council’s Executive considered a report which detailed how various options for the site could be explored and how views from Hertsmere residents and stakeholders could be formally gathered. The Executive also reviewed the measures that are being put in place in the interim to ensure that the site remains secure and that the community centre can continue to function.
Leader of Hertsmere Borough Council, Councillor Morris Bright, commented: “The council has invested more than £6m since it acquired the site for investment purposes in 1996. We’re now at a crossroads where an alternative future needs to the found for the site which is a very important asset for us. It’s crucial that we find a sustainable and credible future for it. Whatever that future holds, we need to maximise financial return from the site for the benefit of all our residents in Hertsmere.
“We also know how strongly local people feel about the site and its future. We’ve listened closely to the views expressed at two public meetings hosted by the Bushey Forum and to other thoughts put forward by residents and stakeholders over recent weeks. The report that was agreed by the Executive is an important step in the right direction towards securing a viable future, whilst keeping the community centre open in the interim.”
Among the measures agreed by last night’s Executive were:
That the council’s Asset Management team should commission professional services to carry out market testing to assess the best possible redevelopment opportunities for the site.
That once those options have been developed, the council will use an established opinion research company to gauge views from a representative sample of the population of Bushey (and Hertsmere more widely) to help the council reach decisions on the future of the site.
That a cross-party working panel should be established to explore options for the redevelopment of the site and to review the findings of community consultations on the available options. This would include representatives from Bushey Forum, council officers and senior councillors.
That budget provision of £194,000 would be made for on-going expenditure in 2018-19. This encompasses keeping the community centre open, grounds maintenance and occupation of the Country Club by property guardians as an additional security measure and to mitigate security costs.
Further information about the future plans for Bushey Country Club will be added to the council’s website www.hertsmere.gov.uk/busheycountryclub
Picture Courtesy of Neeth Atukorale