Plans to use the former Virginia Park Golf Club in Caerphilly town for youth facilities have moved a step closer following approval from Caerphilly County Borough Council’s cabinet to buy the clubhouse.
The council plans to use the site as a centralised hub for youth services if it can acquire the site from Withey Properties (WP).
The former golf club has been closed to members for years, but the driving range and clubhouse continue to be used.
The land was previously owned by the council, but it was transferred to WP in 1998 on the agreement that it could only be used as a golf club, driving range, club house and for leisure facilities.
Now, the council want to buy it back to be used as a base for youth work, education and training, subject to a change of use being granted.
A report presented to cabinet says: “WP have indicated that they would be willing to offer the clubhouse and limited car parking in exchange for removal of the restrictive covenant.
“The facility would then become a council asset with a book value estimated to be in the region of £250,00 to £300,000.”
The interim leader of the council, Cllr Barbara Jones, said youth services are desperately needed and would be vitally important to the children of Caerphilly.
Cllr Carl Cuss asked what the time scales would be like.
The interim head of business improvement services Steve Harris said there was a tenant at the site. He said: “It would depend on how much notice the tenant needs to be given.
“I am guessing about two to three months.”
It is hoped that the youth services could be phased into operation throughout the summer of 2020.
The report says: “Should the golf club building and car park be transferred to the council it would provide the opportunity to deliver enhanced support to young people in the Caerphilly region.
“This would include support for young people experiencing mental health issues, deprivation-related support, Welsh language development, crime and anti-social behaviour reduction, support for those with protected characteristics (including LGBT young people), homelessness and NEETS reduction.
“The facility would also offer greater scope for open access youth work.
“The premises, which incorporates parking and some space for outdoor activities, would operate across the youth work delivery period, inclusive of daytimes, evenings, weekends and school holiday periods.
“The facility would be operated by a youth service cluster team and, in school hours, tutors and other support personnel.”
Morgan Jones ward councillor Jamie Pritchard said: “We’re arguing that the building should be available for further community use and we’ve urged the local authority to run a consultation with local residents to ask what community groups would like to use the building for”.
Negotiations will now take place for the council to buy the site and a planning application will be submitted by the education services to change the use.