On Wednesday March 20th at 6pm the Hertsmere Borough Council (HBC) Executive Committee will meet at the Civic Offices in Borehamwood. One of the Non-Key Decisions on the Agenda is the adoption of the Council Officers’ Report and its recommendation to approve the commissioning of a Masterplan for the site of what was the Bushey Golf and Country Club (BGCC) now known as the Bushey Country Club (BCC).

This report includes 3 appendices, the BGCC Consultation Committee Report, the SMM UK Ltd marketing strategy and the Terms of Reference for the BCC Executive Panel.

This is my interpretation of the report and some of the information contained in the appendices; however, I do strongly recommend that you all read the Officers’ Report on this topic and at least Appendix A, the report of the BGCC Consultation Committee.

The Officers’ Report makes 3 recommendations.

Firstly, that an Executive Panel be setup according to these terms of reference; “This Panel will report to the Executive on potential options following a viability assessment that includes the Council’s expected rate of return, community and social benefits for Hertsmere and Bushey residents.” By meeting more frequently than the monthly Executive Meeting cadence the Council Officers suggest that this panel will be able to move the next phases of the BCC development forward more quickly.

The second recommendation is that the HBC Executive approve the commissioning of a Masterplan, and its required funding, for the development of the BCC site. The Masterplan will allow the Council to fully explore suggestions made by residents during the Consultation process led by Cllr Paul Morris OBE, collated in the BGCC Consultation Committee’s Report, plus a range of strategic options, and test them against Council objectives in relation to business cases and planning restraints and conditions. Funds have previously been set aside for this site and can be used for this.

And thirdly the Officers’ Report recommends that the Executive note the BGCC Consultation Committee report and thank its members.

The Officers’ Report contains information on why the BGCC was closed, a topic covered well at the beginning of 2018 during the Bushey Forum meetings.

Currently the site is leased to SMM who will, as part of their business, reopen the Driving Range, reopen the restaurant café and open a restaurant. They will also maintain the open space that was the golf course. Their lease is for 5 years with a 2-year break clause with 6 months’ notice.

According to Appendix B of the Officers’ Report, the SMM Marketing Strategy, Matt Cousens, who was the Golf Pro at the BGCC, will be returning to the BCC to operate the Driving Range and intends to restart the tuition for young people to encourage them into the sport of Golf. SMM have also applied to open a Steakhouse and Shisha Lounge.

The Community Centre will continue to be operated by Inspire All (formally Hertsmere Leisure Trust).

Appendix A of this report is the report of the Bushey Golf and Country Club Consultation Committee which was prepared by Cllr Paul Morris OBE. It is a comprehensive assessment of the 16 Focus Groups he chaired where residents gathered in small groups to discuss options and their ideas for the site. Using a scoring system, participants either chose or suggested ideas for what might be on this site in the future.

This is not a final decision, and neither is it, according to Cllr Morris Bright MBE at the recent Bushey Forum meeting, the last opportunity we will have to comment on the future of the BCC Site.

The BGCC Consultation Committee Report, and by extension the Focus Groups most popular suggestions, will inform the starting point for the Masterplan. Cllr Morris OBE in this report suggests a multiphase approach and community involvement in the future of this site. It appears the there are two high scoring options in this report, a Community Hub and a Country Park.

These are described in the report as:
Community Hub – There is a local perception that the existing Community centre is no longer fit for purpose, and that a facility that could potentially house the existing community facilities but would now include the following elements: Library, Museum, Theatre/Auditorium, CA, café.

Country Park – Whilst there were some expressions to establish a country park it is generally accepted that to retain the perception of openness to the site when viewed from the high road is desirable

The next suggestion with the highest votes not covered by the Community Hub is Affordable Housing:
Residential – (Affordable) This category is a major concern within the community for the benefit of the existing youth of the community having the opportunity to stay in the area by a shared ownership mode

The range of area suggested by the Focus Groups for development was between 10% and 25%. Currently only 6.08% is developed which includes all the current buildings and car park.

I hope this was of help to you and if not please let me know.

I do again recommend that you read all the material in full, links to which can be found in the article listed in the Latest News section of the Bushey Forum Website, or on the Councils website in the Your Council section which holds information about all Council meetings.

On the Councils site you will also find there a link to the live stream of the Executive meeting.

If you can, I hope you will attend the meeting and if you plan to could you let us know via email or Facebook.