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Saving Cleeve Hill Golf Course: Shall WE begin?

September 27, 2020 Leave a comment

Hi Everyone,

I’ve noticed that a few of you have been trying to access the Blog and the 10-point plan that I have written and published about Saving Cleeve Hill Golf Course today. I wanted to explain why I have removed them from public view, and what I would like to do next.

As I wrote in the Blog, the whole of Cleeve Common is important to my family and I because of the historic link to my father Chris, who was the Warden up until a short time before his death in early 2006. Like so many of you, I simply love the whole place and do not want to see anything that is on offer to our community today being scaled back in any way.

When I then went on to put a 10-point plan out there for you all to see, I did so with the intention of sharing the knowledge and understanding that I have as a former Tewksbury Councillor, as a business owner, as a senior charity manager and as a specialist who has built and launched community-driven service projects that have required working with a great many different stakeholders who have very different views on how services should be delivered or run. (My bio is available above and you can also find me on Linkedin)

I wasn’t expecting to receive the messages that I have from a number of you, as this really was as far as I had intended my involvement to go.

As time has passed and those messages have become conversations, I have become aware that rather than see that ‘plan’ as the suggested ‘stepping off point’ it was, it has instead become a bit of a smorgasbord that different people are picking and choosing the parts of it they like, and ignoring the bits that they either don’t like, or don’t see as making any sense.

If you are going to plagiarise it, it least do everyone a favour and plagiarise it all!

To be frank, most of the things that will need to be done over the next 6 months will not make much sense to many of you at this point in time.

In fact, most of the things that need to be done to make this work won’t make sense until the job is done. And at the end of April, I would only know ‘we’ve’ done it right if one of you were to turn around to me and say ‘Well, it was always going to happen, wasn’t it’.

The problem for everyone who wants to save the Golf Course and the Club House today looking to when the current Lease ends on 31st March, is if you all carry on as you are doing – which is talking and gesturing a lot, but not really doing a lot of anything – you can forget it happening, because it simply won’t.

There are 5 different outcomes that are possible over the next 6 months, depending on what happens in the coming days:

  1. The Golf Course and Club House close on 31st March 2021.
  2. The Golf Club and Golf Club Members wrestle control of any plan and maintain that the solution can only be about prioritising Golf.
  3. A ‘commercial’ interest takes over the Lease and runs it in the just the same way as it has been until now.
  4. A ‘commercial’ investor with bottomless pits for pockets and a willingness to burn money or give it away takes over the Lease, smartens the place up and then drives it in a direction that suits their own tastes and intended customer base.
  5. Everyone quits the bitching and bullshit and comes together around what is a common cause and embraces the principle that ALL uses for the Golf Course and the Building are priorities, but there isn’t one priority that comes first before them all.

Outcomes 2, 3 and 4 are all likely to end up in the same place as 1.

But outcome 5 cannot and will not happen if the endless talking doesn’t quickly stop.

Yes, I’ve been told about ‘this specialist who does this’ and ‘this specialist who does that’ being interested in guiding things or writing a business plan. I know that at least one of the local TBC Councillors has said they are going to ask questions at a Council Meeting with the inference that they are ‘on your side’, whilst all they will be doing is asking the Council what it plans to do.

There is a much bigger picture at work than all of this here. The danger is that the contributions that any or all of these people who have valid contributions can make are being confused with the end game or solution to a much bigger problem. At least some of you are being side-tracked or distracted by the simple idea that someone with a name, a position or a ‘special’ CV has popped up and come into view.

***

Saving the Golf Course and the Building is going to be a project of a kind that has never been done before.

It’s going to break the mould because it requires thinking and action that hasn’t previously been tried anywhere else.

All this when we are facing an economic downturn of the likes never seen before because of the Lockdown, and when funding is being cut or is likely to be cut for community not-for-profit services and projects everywhere because of the damage that has been done.

There isn’t a blueprint for this. Nothing is certain other than the desire that we all share to keep this Community Facility open, in use and to make the very best of it.

So I’m here today to reach out to you all and to ask that we stop looking backwards and start working together so that we can go forward and build a solution that really will engage everyone that it needs to, but above all is actually going to work.

Finding and delivering solutions to tricky questions involving different groups and different people is something that I’ve done many times before.

Whilst I thought that my days working with TBC were a part of my life behind me, I am prepared to volunteer the time necessary to at least get the journey to a working solution started. It is vital that you understand the Council has as much, if not more to gain from a successful outcome to a community or socially-driven bid being successful as we ALL do. It is the benefit to the wider community and to all users of Cleeve Hill that MUST be the overriding priority and aim.

With this in mind, I have already begun work on putting together an organisation, a strategy and the structures necessary to bring everyone together and move this all forward in a way and on a timeline that will work.

I’m not interested in who feels they should be doing this or doing that, or where anyone feels that the assumed responsibility for taking this forward should automatically be. Worrying about that is the route to failure.

There simply isn’t the time to be pissing around playing turf wars and petty politics when ultimately, we all want to achieve the same outcome. A result that we will all look at from the same directions we are coming from now and will experience it with just the same importance as we do now in April 2021 – because it’s there, it’s open and it’s got legs as a community resource for the future.

Surely this is the outcome that we all want?!

For a genuine cross-community-driven bid to succeed, WE MUST START WORK NOW.

Because of the work that will need to be done once the Lease has been secured, the project work leading to that outcome needs to be completed before Christmas (and that’s Christmas this year for anyone who isn’t sure!).

That’s less than 12 weeks. It’s very little time for a project of this size and scope.

But it can be done, if you ALL get on board and we begin working together, side by side.

***

My proposal is this:

Give me your support and commitment to get a ‘community solution’ started between now and Wednesday 30th September, and on Thursday 1st October, WE will begin.

If you want to go your own way, wait for the perfect vehicle, perfect plan or perfect person to do all of this for you, please carry on and ignore what I’ve said. I wish you well.

If you want to get behind a new organisation and vision that is going to be built around and developed for you all, please show your support by liking this post on my Facebook Page or by liking or commenting below.

Comments will be treated like private messages and only published publicly if by responding to a question or point that you have made, everyone else can be helped in some way.

If there is sufficient support – and particularly from the key groups who are likely to be involved, I will launch the new organisation on Wednesday evening via Social Media – and with it outline to you all how we are going to get started, the next steps to be taken and what we will all need to do to make it work.

If you want to get in touch for any reason, messaging me through my FB Page or by commenting on this Blog is going to be the quickest way. I will respond to all reasonable questions and comments but have no interest in getting involved in any private or personal wars.

This isn’t about me. It isn’t about you. This is about something that is only possible for us achieve by working together and if we have an unswerving commitment to doing everything possible for our community that it is possible for us to do.

Over to you.

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