0 Pledge to improve Birmingham municipal golf courses for the next 50 years

The lickeys and Cov uni feb 10 047.jpgBirmingham 's golfers have been promised a raft of new facilities after a not-for-profit social enterprise took over the city's seven municipal courses.

Mytime Active pledged to update amenities after winning the right to run the courses for the next 50 years.

The organisation said it would:

* Replace the Pype Hayes clubhouse which was burned down by arsonists two years ago;

* Install a new driving range at Hatchford Brook in Sheldon and;

* Provide a new clubhouse at Harborne and refurbish the same facility at Boldmere.

The outfit has also been set strict targets to improve golf participation in golf and encourage more young people to play.

It has also pledged not to increase prices in the first year.

Chief executive Steve Price said: "We are delighted to have been awarded this contract to manage Birmingham's golf course and are very much looking forward to meeting staff and customers to discuss the priorities for improvements.

"As a social enterprise we're passionate about the benefits to health of an active lifestyle and will be looking to increase participation, especially with young people and schools."

Birmingham's municipal courses faced a cash crisis in 2009, losing a combined £900,000-a-year.

One of them, Hilltop in Handsworth, was earmarked for closure after being blamed by city leisure boss Coun Martin Mullaney for causing half of the losses.

But now the courses, which currently cost the taxpayer £250,000 a year to run, will receive £10 million investment and any profits will be reinvested or shared with the authority.

Mytime, based in Bromley, Kent, was one of 21 companies to show an interest when Birmingham City Council first offered up its golf management contract last year, and was chosen by city council chiefs from a shortlist of four.

Under the new deal existing staff will be transferred to the Mytime Active and up to 30 new jobs will be created.

Coun Mullaney said: "Two years ago there was a very real fear that one or more of our courses might have to close.

"Now with this ground breaking deal we have not only safeguarded public golf for future generations, we have transformed a service that was running at a loss into one set for significant investment."

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