There was considerable discomfort amongst the long ranks of Tory benches today as we discussed a distinctly below par performance at Dibden Golf Centre.

Social enterprise Mytime Active started a 30-year contract on 1st April 2012 to manage the golf centre owned by New Forest District Council.

Mytime Active also operates Southampton City Golf Course and 17 other courses nationally.

It seems participating in golf is something that is on the decline nationally.

This had had a negative impact on income as well as adverse weather (exacerbated by drainage problems) in the first two years of the contract.

As a consequence, a lot of the promised investment had not materialised.

Members visiting the facility have expressed disappointment about the condition of the car park, pathways, fencing, lighting, signage and ladies changing facilities.

Liaison between the Council and Mytime Active seems to have been poor.

It is in everyone’s interest that the centre improves, both in terms of the quality of what’s offered and participation. It isn’t just about financial sustainability.

The Council has a Public Health duty to ensure the people it represents are encouraged to stay fit and active.

I did not favour the Council shedding responsibility for running the centre five years ago. I have not changed my mind.

A renegotiation of the original contract terms means that Council Tax payers will not now be benefiting from a £4000 a year sum which was due to be paid over to NFDC.

That’s another £20,000 lost and the conservatives were trying desperately to present this as a “good news story”!

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