Calls to delay sale of golf course land in order to ‘maximise its worth’

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THE sale of land which made up a council-run golf course should be delayed in order to maximise its worth, according to councillors, which could include houses being built on part of the site.

2018 saw Anglesey Council’s Executive propose the sale of Llangefni’s former nine hole range after several years of running at average annual losses of £28,000.

A condition of the sale of the 42-acre site and accompanying three bedroom house was that the proceeds should go towards council-run leisure services and improvements to the town’s Plas Arthur facility.

But a meeting of the authority’s Corporate Scrutiny Committee has recommended that the sale should be held back to see if a portion of the site could be included in the Local Development Plan to build affordable housing.

According to members, who met on Monday, selling the land to would-be developers would dramatically increase its worth compared to other potential uses.

Opened in 1983 by Ynys Môn Borough Council to provide a low cost “pay and play” facility for beginner and intermediate golfers, it was frequented by Danny Willett as he holidayed on Anglesey as a child before going on to win the 2016 US Masters tournament.

For two years until September 2018, the lease for the site was held by the Llangefni Social Enterprise on a peppercorn rent, but ended after the group conceded it was not financially worthwhile to run the course.

The on-site driving range has since reopened and operates as a stand-alone business under lease from the authority, and is not under threat by the plans.

But while the golf course land is not currently located within Llangefni’s Local Development Plan, a review is scheduled to take place this year, with some councillors keen to see if it provides a window to allow at least some housing on the site.

Cllr Peter Rogers, who has been outspoken over the need to dispose of council assets, was critical of the authority “allowing” the site to deteriorate over time, claiming “it should never have been permitted to get into such a state.”

“There is land on Anglesey worth £10,000 an acre and it worries me that you’re looking to market it now when its looking at its very worst,” he added.

“We’ve had ragwort right through it, bulldozed the greens and topsoil, and the mess there means we’ve lost the value it was once worth.

“I’m asking you to wait, perhaps another year, but not to cash in today but to go back and look at the opportunities.

“There’s a road nearby and it could well fall into the LDP. Nothing ventured nothing gained – we’ve lost far too much money through bad decisions.”

Cllr Nicola Roberts, one of the local councillors, noted that the authority “couldn’t wait forever” to market the land, which also saw a warning from Cllr Dylan Rees that a seperate plan to build affordable housing was recently refused planning permission due to an abundance of such developments already in the pipeline.

There were also warnings that amending the LDP may not be as straightforward as some anticipated.

But after members were deadlocked at four votes apiece, Cllr Aled Morris Jones’ casting vote as the committee chair was enough to ensure that Cllr Bryan Owen’s proposal was voted through.

The proposal, however, does state that the sale of the three bedroom Tŷ Ffridd should go ahead as originally planned.

A final decision is expected when the council’s executive meets later this month.


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