CHEERS erupted at a Wirral Council meeting as much-loved Brackenwood golf course took a step closer to reopening.

Key decisions were also made about six former libraries, the refurbishment of a community clubhouse in New Ferry, and the Bromborough Civic Centre.

Brackenwood Golf Course was closed in 2022 after Wirral Council passed a series of cuts to balance its budget. Since then, Wirral Council has been looking at two bids to take over the course.

However a recommendation to close the golf course to provide pitch provision as well as improve biodiversity drew criticism from campaigners and golfing legend Ian Woosnam. Wirral Council said this proposal was to support its Local Plan which is currently under review by the government.

Council officers said there was a limited availability of land for sports pitches on the Wirral which already has a shortage and the opportunity provided by the golf course was key to seeing the brownfield development policy in the Local Plan succeed.

Officers insisted it was not an attempt to throw a curve-ball at the bids late in the process but due to an “intensification” of greenbelt issues in recent months as well as the council “finding it quite challenging to find the sites for future playing pitch provision.”

Chair Helen Cameron proposed the council start immediately negotiating with Brackenwood Community Golf Limited to agree the terms to transfer the course into their hands based on their business plan put forward.

The proposal, which will include a focus on priorities in the Local Plan, will come back to the committee before going to the council’s senior Policy and Resources committee. It was passed unanimously by councillors.

Cllr Jenny Johnson said: “This is democracy we are faced with tonight and this room here is our democracy. Those are our residents, from Wirral as a whole and they are speaking loud and clear tonight. We’re not always going to agree with the officer’s recommendations.

“I hope you all hear tonight that we are listening, we have read the reports and we have done a lot of work in the background in order to consider this.”

She argued developers should be required to find the sites for pitch provision as part of regeneration projects in Birkenhead “rather than taking land from what is a golf course for all intents and purposes.”

Councillors also agreed to allow Pensby and Prenton libraries to be transferred into community hands while Higher Bebington, Wallasey Village, and Irby libraries moved to final negotiations of community transfer before coming back to committee.

Bromborough Civic Centre will also move to the next stage of the community asset transfer where business plans will be developed on two bids by organisations.

Recommendations for Hoylake Library to be sold off or rented out as well as Higher Bebington library and Woodchurch Library now being used for educational purposes have been recommended to Policy and Resources.

£336,875 will also go towards refurbishing Bebington Youth Hub which was welcomed by Bromborough councillor Sue Percy who said people there ““have waited a long time for something to happen.”