Revised plans for £20m golf development unveiled

Revised plans for clubhouse

New £20m proposals for a Merseyside golf club have been revealed.

Plans for the Kirkby Valley Golf Course were rejected in December 2022.

Now, Green Circle Leisure has unveiled a new vision for the future of the Kirkby Valley Golf Course aimed at creating the region’s first ‘Total Golf’ destination.

Plans for the former municipal golf course were originally submitted to Knowsley Council in 2021, but have now been substantially revised in response to consultation responses and a desire to minimise the impact of the £20m investment on the site’s greenbelt status.

Green Circle’s director of golf, David Goscombe, said: “The original planning application envisaged the creation of additional sporting facilities including tennis courts, soccer-fives pitches and a bowling green, but there was concern that this would impact adversely on the greenbelt and the sense of openness which is an important aspect of the site.

“As a result we have undertaken a major review of the project and decided to focus on the golf facilities to realise the unique potential of the site to create the best possible golf destination..”

The new masterplan, designed by international course architects, International Design Group (IDG ) and Liverpool-based Brock Carmichael Architects, is aimed at providing a unique offer to golfers of all ages and abilities with:

  • An improved 18-hole Championship course with reshaped greens, tees and new irrigation and drainage system to guarantee all-your-round playability.
  • A nine-hole par three Academy course, ideal for younger golfers, beginners and those wanting a less physically and technically challenging game of golf.
  • An 18-hole Adventure Golf Course to provide a fun, family-friendly and accessible version of the game alongside the more traditional formats.
  • A new golf club house and state-of-the-art two tier driving range, including golf simulation and teaching spaces to teach and develop key golf skills.

David Goscombe added: “Golf is at the core of our business and our Total Golf model is about breaking down barriers to participation and making the game as attractive, accessible and affordable to as many people as possible.

“Kirkby Valley is a unique asset, as it enables us to offer every format of the game in one location. This will be a ground breaking development and completely unique in this region.”

Green Circle will be expanding its golf development and outreach programme as the new facilities offer expanded opportunities for participation, coaching and get-into-golf initiatives with local schools and even social prescribing golf sessions to promote better health and wellbeing.

CGI of driving range plans

The review of the masterplan has also involved a complete redesign of the proposed new clubhouse, which includes the golf shop, bar and restaurant, and first floor function space, with a more sympathetic and less visually intrusive design by Brock Carmichael.

John Cassell, of Brock Carmichael Architects, said: “The new clubhouse and driving range buildings will provide first class social and leisure facilities. and will provide a much needed social amenity for the Kirkby community as well. It was important that the design and materials of the buildings fitted in with the wider masterplan, and complimented the natural landscape and visual character of the course.”

Andrew Craven, of IDG Golf Architects, said: “Overall, this is a much improved scheme, delivering a fantastic golf-for-all offer whilst safeguarding Kirkby Valley’s landscape and environmental value.

“We listened to concerns raised from the previous application, and have come back with a better design. The proposals for Kirkby Valley are transformational and will significantly raise the bar from the standard of facilities on site today.”

Green Circle says its investment will create 106 full time permanent jobs in greenkeeping, grounds maintenance, hospitality, retail, golf tuition, admin and marketing.

It hopes the plans will be approved by Knowsley Council before the end of the year, with work due to commence in spring 2024.