Oldham Council has given the green light for a new and improved golf facility at Grains Bar where golfers can go to improve their game.
The Local Authority has granted an initial licence to allow the Bishop Park facility to re-open immediately and conclude a 25-year lease of the course in the forthcoming months for its continued use as a pitch and putt venue. The Council sought rental bids for the nine-acre land through the Unity Partnership earlier this year and received five offers.
The accepted offer came from Pennine Golf Ltd, a company that has previous experience in tending to golf courses throughout the UK. Their exciting plans include introducing a café at the booking office and the former changing rooms – plus upgrading the adjoining former cricket pitch to form a new driving range facility for golfers across the Borough.
The lease will retain the right to use part of the existing car park for the benefit of walkers, local residents and visitors to Bishops Park, located close the junction of the A672 Ripponden Road and the B1697 Grains Road, about four miles the north east of Oldham town centre. Golfers from novice to expert level can enjoy the nine-hole, par three pitch and putt course with holes ranging from 89 to 119 yards. In recent years it has only operated seasonally from April to October, but the new tenant intends to open the facility all year round for the keen golfer to practice their short game. The site is tended with moorland grass fairways and small greens, landscaped with trees and shrubs. In addition to the land to be leased, there is also an 18-hole putting green.
Councillor Shoab Akhtar, Cabinet Member for Business and Town Centres, said: “This pitch and putt facility was making year on year losses and as a Council we decided, with the support of the Bishop Park Trust Committee, to advertise it on the open market earlier this year and try to revive its fortunes.
“We’ve had considerable interest from parties to rent it with plans to maximise the site’s potential and attract the general public. [This new and improved golf facility] is great news for the Borough and we’re delighted to grant this initial licence to the new tenant who has previous experience in tending golf courses across the country. Under the provisions of the lease, open access will continue to be provided to the site and the existing rights of way through the site will be unaffected.”
Mark Cumiskey, Director of Pennine Golf Ltd, said: “The Bishop Park facility is an eye-catching site which has wonderful potential and our plans will keep the popular sport of golf in this area with a local hub for golfers to hone their skills and enjoy themselves. We also intend to offer the facility to local schools and local clubs, plus attract local businesses in the area for mini corporate days in conjunction with our neighbours at The Kings Arms. However, we would not have been able to reach this stage without the co-operative partnership working with Oldham Council and the Bishop Park Trust Committee.”