Hertsmere Leisure Trust, which manages Hertsmere Borough Council’s leisure contract, ended its arrangement to operate Bushey Country Club and the facility was closed on 1 April 2018.
We are working to decide what best to do with the site, both in the short and longer term. Understandably there has been a lot of public interest in the future of the site. We can confirm that we have not sold the site and there is no planning application submitted to build houses.
A series of interim arrangements have been put in place whilst we consult on the future, long term use of the site and review the various options. Bushey Country Club is a valuable council asset so any future options would need to generate income and be of benefit to both Bushey and the wider community in Hertsmere.
Interim arrangements and consultation:
We invited expressions of interest for 'meanwhile' uses of the site whilst we consult and consider options for the longer term future of the site. We are currently reviewing the bids received.
Focus groups and consultation:
Cllr Paul Morris OBE, an elected member who represents Bushey Heath ward, is co-ordinating a series of focus groups with interested parties (comprising a maximum of 12 attendees at each session) to gauge views on the longer term options for the site. Some have already taken place and several more are yet to take place. For further information, or to express interest in taking part in a focus group, please contact email@example.com
Once a list of viable options has been developed, we will also look to consult more widely with both Bushey residents and the wider Hertsmere community, using an industry-recognised and independent opinion research company, before any final decisions are reached.
Security and site protection measures have been put in place to prevent unauthorised access to the site. We are also using a ‘property guardian’ company to secure and maintain the vacant buildings. The guardians, who are living at the site, are working professionals, and this arrangment means that the site remains occupied, secure and managed.
Golf course and driving range:
The golf course and driving range closed from 1 April but arrangements are in place to ensure the on-going maintenance of the grounds so that the open space remains presentable and in good order until the future use of the site has been determined. These include grass cutting; hedge trimming and shrub maintenance; weed control and a weekly litter pick. In the short term there will be no general public access to the grounds permitted. If it is determined at a future date that the grounds are to be open to the public, then an appropriate level of maintenance and management of the site will be undertaken to ensure safe and secure community access.
Our Executive agreed to keep the community centre open until the longer term future of the site has been decided upon. Bookings for the community centre are now being administered from Bushey Grove and there is a good level of usage. Anyone interested in hiring the Bushey Community Centre can contact Sharon McDermott at Bushey Grove via email firstname.lastname@example.org
A car parking regime has been introduced at the site. Charges are in line with costs at the other council car parks in Bushey but allow users of the community centre free parking for two hours.
Country Club – café, function facilities, gym etc:
The country club and facilities closed from 1 April. Options for fitness users were offered by Bushey Grove Leisure Centre which is 1.5 miles away. During April, 250 gym memberships transferred to Bushey Grove.
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Here are the press releases we have issued so far:
Interim measures to keep Bushey Country Club site secure
More decisions taken to secure the future of the Bushey Country Club site
Agreement to keep community centre open for time being
We have received a number of frequently asked questions, including:
How do I go about expressing interest in acquiring or developing the site?
Asset Management team is maintaining a database with details of any expressions of interest so please contact them with your details. Their email is email@example.com
What's the background to Hertsmere Leisure Trust's involvement with Bushey Country Club and wy did they end their arrangement to operate from the club?
Hertsmere Leisure Trust has operated our leisure centres – The Venue, Hertswood, Furzefield, Bushey Grove and Wyllyotts – since 2002.
In 2011, we undertook a Leisure Facilities Management Procurement process to include Threeways and Bushey Community Centres, 50+ activities and parks events, together with Bushey Country Club (BCC), which was awarded to Hertsmere Leisure.
Prior to Hertsmere Leisure Trust taking over the management of Bushey Country Club, the site was managed by Bushey Golf Club Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hertsmere Borough Council. Bushey Country Club was operating at a significant financial loss before the leisure contract was awarded and continued to do so, whilst other leisure facilities in Hertsmere performed much better. We did seek operators to take over the facility but there was a poor response because of a declining trend in golf usage and the significant competition for fitness facilities.
The financial losses at Bushey Country Club became unsustainable for Hertsmere Leisure, leading them to give us notice to end its operating arrangement.
Hertsmere Leisure worked with the Country Club's previous users to find alternative provision and has brought forward investment proposals at nearby Bushey Grove, such as extending gym facilities and creating some community space.
When did the council first know about the financial difficulties?
Hertsmere Leisure's contract to run all of our leisure facilities across the borough started in 2012. Bushey Country Club has operated at a deficit since the start of that contract, which was anticipated from the outset. However, that financial performance has deteriorated in the past five years of the contract whilst other facilities in the borough have performed much better.
What steps were taken to reduce costs and increase income to sustain the centre?
Management of the facility rested with Hertsmere Leisure independently. The interventions they put in place did not achieve the improvements in the financial position that Hertsmere Leisure anticipated.
Which organisation foots the bill for the considerable financial losses?
Hertsmere Leisure ran the facility as an independent organisation under a contract with us so the losses rest with them.
Does the site appear in the council’s Local Plan or Strategic Housing Land Assessment?
It appears as a potential site for growth on the issues and options document for our new Local Plan which is currently being developed. This means the site could be considered for development for employment, leisure, housing or other uses in the future but there are no particular plans at present.
What has happened to the car wash facilities and other small businesses operating at the site?
The car wash is remaining for the time being. The other small businesses were given notice.
What happened to the council’s area office in Bushey?
This located to Citizens Advice in Rudolph Road from 5 April. It is open on Thursdays between 9.30am and 2pm.