3. The Current Position at Windmill Hill Golf Course

The current 18-hole golf course is owned by Milton Keynes Council and managed via a contract between 1Life Leisure and the Council’s Leisure Services.

Despite the closure of the 18-hole golf course at Wavendon in 2018, there are currently less than 300 members at Windmill Hill. This number is far below the average of 1,000 members needed to keep such a facility financially viable and sustainable.

Running costs are high for 18-hole golf courses. To give an example, each hole needs £20,000 per year just to cover its maintenance costs (chemicals, labour and machinery). For an 18-hole golf course, this totals £360,000 per annum. This does not include any overheads relating to staff and facilities, such as the club house, restaurants, and pro shops.

As a consequence, the Council need to explore innovative ways of keeping Windmill Hill in use as a golf course.

Future Funding of Public Sports and Leisure Facilities in MK

Since 2010, as a result of the UK government’s financial austerity Milton Keynes Council has suffered budget cuts totalling £150million, and over the next four years is facing an additional £18million in cuts as it tries to manage increasing demand for social care and other vital services whilst its core funding continues to reduce.

Thus, although MKC remains in good financial health, it has no choice but to scale back the number of services it provides. Local leisure services is one of the areas that has faced the biggest budget cuts.

Milton Keynes is a growing city, with a significant proportion of families and young people as well as a maturing population who wish to remain healthy and active into later life. To continue to be able to provide services to meet the wide range of sporting and leisure needs of this diverse and growing population, MKC needs to begin working with other public bodies within the sports sector as well as other third parties including private companies such as Evolve.