Here you will find the latest developments regarding Hs2 that directly affect the golf club.
Relevant information will be added here as and when we get it.
Yesterday (2nd July 2018) our HS2 team (Mel Jones, Geoff Matthews, Sarah Sharp and Tim Furnell) appeared before the House of Commons Select Committee (SC) to support our Petition case for compensation and relocation to a new course. Mel and Geoff together with expert witnesses Gareth Morgan and Bob Hunt (International Golf Design) gave a presentation and responded to MPs questions. The proceedings can be seen on the web at:
HS2 set out in their evidence to the SC that we were not (they contend) entitled to compensation under what is known as Rule 5 Equivalent Reinstatement (ER) but under different Rules. Their view is that we should move “sideways” and create a new course with 7 of our existing holes the clubhouse side of the proposed HS2 line, and 11 new holes on land to the side of the club access road, Lion Lodge Covert (woodland) and farmland the other side of Ingestre Road. They argued at the SC that this was a cheaper cost to the taxpayers and a way of allowing the club to continue. We disagree with their cost estimates and consider the “sideways” proposal very unattractive and likely to threaten the club’s future viability.
Despite only being made aware of this proposal last week, we met HS2 at their request, at lunchtime before the SC Hearing. At this meeting HS2 attempted to persuade us to take the issue of compensation to arbitration and to explore further their “sideways” proposal. We declined to do either and took our case for ER to facilitate relocation to the SC.
Whilst we were not happy that we were not given the right to reply by way of a closing statement and respond to HS2’s evidence, we believe that the Select Committees MP’s were sympathetic to our case and overall are satisfied that we set out a good and balanced case to HS2’s position. The HS2 committee have devoted hundreds of hours to this matter and on reflection they do not feel they could have done any more.
We now eagerly await the outcome which we will convey to members as soon as this is known and we remain confident that our club is entitled to the compensation and relocation we seek and has a bright future on a new course.
If you have any questions please feel free to chat to Mel, Geoff, Sarah and Tim.
Update April 2018
As advised in our February update, we submitted our petition on the 26th February in response to the HS2 Bill (which sets out why we consider the Club should be granted equivalent reinstatement under Rule 5 of the Compensation Code).
The Committee has started work on our presentation to the Select Committee which will be in the House of Commons and expected to take place in July. The presentation will support our view from the outset that for the Club not only to continue but to keep developing, the only viable option is for us to be granted funding for a new course to be constructed.
The process is long and frustrating but we remain determined.
Our staff have been briefed on the current situation to alleviate any fears they may have had as rumours circulate to assure them that their job security forms a principal part of our fight for our continued development as a golf club.
Once the date for our visit to the Select Committee is known, you will be informed and we will report the outcome accordingly.
If you have any questions regarding HS2 please direct them to the Hon Secretary via the office and a member of the Hs2 Committee will respond.
Please be rest-assured we will continue to fight for our Club, our members and staff and our local community to the very best of our ability.
Update February 2018
Further to our HS2 update in December, the Second Reading of the Bill took place on 30th January and the petitioning period closed on 26th February. As previously explained, petitioning is an option for anyone directly affected by Hs2 and the basis of the petition is to outline how you are affected, your objection/s and suggested remedy. In the absence of a response from HS2 to our Business Case which we submitted in November, and, as recommended by the Board, we have submitted a petition which was deposited on the 26th February. Petitioning is a two stage process – firstly drafting and submitting the petition to Parliament and secondly appearing on the petition at select committee stage (if necessary).
What happens after the petition is submitted?
Hs2 may contact us to discuss our concerns and seek to reach agreement on points raised in the petition. In any event Hs2 should contact us in due course to let us know when the select committee proceedings will commence, if they intend to challenge our standing (the general rule is that only those who are specially and directly affected by a hybrid bill are entitled to appear before a select committee on a petition), to let us know when our petition is timetabled for consideration by the committee and to provide us with a petitioner’s response document.
Rest assured, the HS2 Committee continue to work diligently on behalf of the Club and we will keep you informed with developments as they happen.
Update December 2017
You may recall in our October Report, HS2 had requested our Business Case to demonstrate our rationale for the equivalent reinstatement preference of complete relocation in order to obtain advance funding to secure land to be able to start our relocation process.
Although HS2 are notoriously difficult to contact, due to our persistence we managed to arrange another meeting on the 3rd November with Connolly Meagher HS2’s Property Acquisition Manager for Phase 2a and David Williams, Valuation Director from Lambert Smith Hampton (a property management company) who have been instructed by Hs2 to deal with cases such as ours.
Our Business Case was submitted on the 22nd November to David and he advised we should receive a response within three months.
Following the consultation on the HS2 Phase 2a Environmental Statement, the next milestone in the parliamentary process is Second Reading in the House of Commons. At Second Reading the principles of the Bill are established.; there is a debate on the floor of the House; length of the petitioning period set and the premise of the Bill is assured. The County Council held a petitioning workshop on the 28th November led by their parliamentary agent, Sharpe Pritchard explaining how the process works and how to submit as effective a petition as possible. Hon Secretary, Hon Treasurer and Club Manager attended. They were advised that the Second Reading is expected Jan/Feb next year and once read there will most likely be 25 days to lodge a petition which can be done via the House of Commons website at a likely fee of £20. Petitioning is an option for anyone directly affected by Hs2 and the basis of the petition is to outline how you are affected, your objection/s and suggested remedy. The timescale for the Second Reading is to our advantage as we hope to have received a response from HS2 by the time this takes place. However, if this is has not happened, or, in the unlikely situation that HS2 do not accept our advance funding application, this route is recommended by the Board.
We are pleased to report that five members (Niall Pugh, Tim Furnell, Bob Barker, Hallan Sambrooke, Rod Taylor) have expressed an interest in joining the Hs2 Committee which will be re-assembled in the New Year.
We take this opportunity to address a rumour circulating the Club. Despite the overwhelming decision to relocate expressed by members at the HS2 Forum held in February 2016, it appears that some members would now prefer to sell up and take the money. This is not only a sad indictment for Ingestre Park Golf Club but for the spirit and legacy left by those members who, when faced with the closure of Kingston Hill Golf Club, immediately set up a development committee and upon surveying Ingestre Park knew it had the potential to be made into the fine 18-hole course it is today. They struggled, dug deep into their pockets and spent many hours working on this course. Only a Club with the ‘Hill Billy’ spirit could carry it off.
Now, fifty years later history is almost repeating itself, except this time we have the unique opportunity for a new course and clubhouse built and paid for – one might wonder where the Club’s sprit is today…
In order to pre-empt a pending proposal from those members wishing to sell up we have sought advice from our Solicitors for clarification.
Firstly, are those members of the Club who are looking to dissolve the companies and distribute the proceeds of sale amongst themselves, able to do so?
Article 11 of the Articles of Association for Kingston Hill GC state:-
“If at an extraordinary general meeting (of which not less than 4 weeks’ written notice has been given to each member) and at which not less than one half of the members eligible to vote are present a resolution for the dissolution of the Club is passed by a majority of two thirds of the members present and voting, the Committee must immediately, or at such future date as is specified in the resolution, proceed to realise the property of the club. The proceeds will be applied to such registered charitable bodies, or bodies registered within the Community Amateur Sport Scheme (“the CASCS”) as are agreed upon by the membership. In default of such agreement such bodies will be nominated by the secretary for the time being of the English Golf Union.”
Pursuant to the above, two thirds of the members need to vote in favour of the dissolution.
In 2012 we incorporated Ingestre Park Golf Club Ltd, a company limited by guarantee and is the sole shareholder of KHGC. Members of the golf club are automatically members of Ingestre Park Golf Club Ltd and Ingestre Park Golf Club Ltd is the only ‘member’ of Kingston Hill Golf Club so a vote to dissolve would need to be made by Ingestre Park Golf Club Ltd acting by its board of directors.
Secondly, are the members of IPGC able to change the articles of association of the companies in order to give effect to this?
The articles of KHGC could always be changed by special resolution (requiring a 75% vote of the member(s)). Again, this would involve authorisation by the directors of Ingestre Park Golf Club Ltd. on its behalf. Pursuant to article 6 of Ingestre Park Golf Club Ltd Articles, members may, by way of a special resolution, instruct the directors to take, or refrain from taking, specified action and require its directors to vote to wind up the Club. Members could also amend article 6 so as to permit a lower percentage of its members to direct the directors but again 75% of the membership would need to vote in favour of this change.
As stated earlier, the Club has overcome threats to its survival in the past but the spirit of the members and staff has prevailed. Whilst we can never replicate our beautiful course we recognise that we must seize Hs2’s development as an opportunity and our relocation will mean that we can continue to play golf on an 18-hole course built to American GA standards with superb clubhouse facilities. Hs2 want to start constructing the line in 2021/22 so we need to be ready to leave by then – that is only 4 or so years away. In the new year we anticipate a great deal of activity with numerous presentations to choose your preferred course designer and clubhouse architect as we prepare for the next chapter.
October 2017 Update
Further to our update in June you may be aware that on 17th July 2017, the government introduced the High Speed Rail (West Midlands to Crewe) Bill into Parliament. This hybrid Bill is to authorise the next part of the Hs2 railway network, known as Phase 2a.
We have responded to the Environmental Statement which was produced as part of the Bill. Broadly speaking the issues in the Statement affect remaining properties, however the benefit of doing this is that it would also enable us to lodge any future objections we may have whereas we would not be able to do so if no objections were registered now. The deadline for comments was 30th September. In our response we conveyed the importance of maintaining access to the Golf Club at all times if new roads, public right of ways or bridges are constructed in advance and, in the event that the principle of equivalent reinstatement is accepted and the relocation site is included within the hybrid Bill, it will be necessary to include the new site within an amended Environmental Statement.
A significant recent development was securing a meeting on the 25th September with Hs2 representatives (namely Connolly Meagher MRICS Property Acquisition Manager, Martin Wells, Senior Petition Manager and trainee Ash Matharu) attended by the Board of Directors, our Hs2 Advisor Gareth Morgan and the Club Manager. Whilst the Bill goes through the various parliamentary stages we made our approach to Hs2 for advance funding in order to secure land to be able to start our relocation process (equivalent reinstatement). HS2 responded by requesting our Business Case in which we present the Golf Club’s merits and the subsequent justification to continue on a new site.
Now that the Bill has been introduced, the Board are conscious of the timescales indicated by Hs2 (Royal Assent 2021) and, due to the complexities of equivalent reinstatement, they have started to appoint a team of professionals who have the relevant expertise and credentials to work alongside the Directors and our Advisor Gareth Morgan BSc, FRICS CEnv to safeguard the interests of our Club. These are Solicitor Niall Blackie Senior Partner FBC Manby Bowdler in Telford, a specialist in compulsory purchase and planning; Land & Property Specialist Mike Taylor BSc(Hons) FRICS FAAV FNAEA Senior Partner Barbers Rural Consultancy LLP and Peter Jones MSc., MBPR, RIPTA an independent golf course consultant and agronomist (he has been our course advisor for the past nine years) and has expertise as a manager for design & maintenance for group projects such as design at Clandon GC, Guildford.
Niall and Mike will also examine our Business Case prior to submission.
Course and clubhouse architects will be explored when the time is appropriate and presentations held for members to gain opinions and preferences.
We are entering a crucial phase. If you feel that you have appropriate expertise and are interested in joining the Hs2 Committee please contact Sarah, Club Manager.
Since January 2013 when the route for HS2 was published, now, almost five years later there is a certain inevitability HS2 will happen. And whilst it is sad to lose our wonderful course, at the heart of the Club are our members. Exciting and challenging times lie ahead as we approach the next chapter in our Club’s history.
UPDATE JUNE 2017
At 11:43am on Wednesday 21st June 2017, in her Queen’s Speech to Parliament, Her Majesty announced that the government will bring in a bill within the next 2 years to “Build and operate the HS2a rail link between Birmingham and Crewe”.
This removes the uncertainty hanging over our golf course – it is not now a case of “if” but “when” HS2 will be built.
However, do not be alarmed. The timetable suggested by our expert (Gareth Morgan) still looks to be fairly accurate. Assuming a Bill is introduced into Parliament this winter or early spring 2018 at the earliest, it is estimated that it will take 2 years to pass the various stages to receive the Royal Assent, and thereafter the Compulsory Purchase procedures will kick in and it will take us at least 3 years thereafter to buy the land and build a replacement course. During the meantime we will continue to play at Ingestre, largely undisturbed, until the replacement course is fully ready to move to. You will always, as Ingestre Park Golf Club members, have uninterrupted golf.
It is now likely that advanced talks with HS2 will be offered and we will try to obtain funds to undertake the early preparation works of securing our preferred site, appointing course and clubhouse architects and obtaining planning consent, before the proposed Bill becomes an Act. We will of course keep you up to date as matters progress, and fully consult with you as to your thoughts and wishes.
This is a fantastic opportunity for our Club, admittedly one we would all wish to avoid, but will ensure the future quality and financial viability of Ingestre Golf Club well into the next century, within a new purpose built top quality facility nearby.
Another new year has been and gone and we regret to advise you that precious little has changed in respect of HS2 and Ingestre Park Golf Club.
In general, the Government seems determined to push forward with HS2, and the legislation for Phase 1 is now complete and the land required is in the process of being acquired. Building works will soon commence linking London and Birmingham.
The Transport Minister has announced that they are committed to HS2 (in its entirety), and has announced the final preferred route for HS2 Phase2a, which regrettably still includes going straight through our golf course. Consultants acting on behalf of HS2 are working hard to complete the initial scoping works and surveys which will be necessary to support the eventual legislation and costs to date on just the Ingestre Park GC site investigations, we are advised, have already exceeded £50,000, so their future intent appears fairly obvious. However, there appears to be no window set aside in the legislative programme this spring to start the legal processes leading up to the bill needed for Phase 2a, so our earlier Expert advice to you on the likely delay to Government desired timescales remains realistic. Our Expert doesn’t expect the legislative process to commence until a year from now, so please don’t expect any startling developments affecting us until then. After initial meetings with HS2, they have been uncommunicative since, and there is simply no current progress to report to you, and there seems very little we can do to encourage them to pay in advance for the long drawn out planning and design works we will need if they eventually proceed.
We therefore remain in limbo, but you should be assured that your Directors, the HS2 sub-committee and our professional advisor appreciate the need to continue to maintain and invest in the club to the benefit of members, as if HS2 didn’t exist, whilst being prepared for all potential future developments. If there is any important decision in future by the Government, we will of course communicate it to you as soon as possible.
Update – 16/11/2016 following the announcement on the 14th November
This announcement was purely about the acceptance of the Government’s preferred route ie if it happens where it will go, which is really no surprise as the Transport Minister committed the Government to proceed with HS2 a few weeks ago.
This leaves us at Ingestre GC in a completely unchanged position – the Government’s Hybrid Bill for HS2 Phase 2a is not now likely to enter Parliament until Spring 2018 and until the Hybrid Bill passes we remain in limbo.
Since Brexit we have contacted hs2 but we still await a
response and regrettably have absolutely nothing to report on either our
progress or potential progress in the near future.
Hs2 Forum – February
Fantastic turn out to our first Hs2 Forum. Over 180 members turned out to get the FACTS about Hs2 and understand what lies ahead for the future of the Club.
Following the presentation, the floor was opened up for any questions.
Second Hs2 Forum
FORUM held on Tuesday 17th May. Thank you to the 93 members who attended our second Forum. We hope you found it interesting and informative.
Ingestre Park Golf Club is on Phase two of Hs2 and an announcement on Phase two is due in the autumn. To date, we have had no further information on the progress of Hs2 Phase two in the wake of the Brexit vote. We will keep you posted with any further developments.