COUNCIL chiefs remain bold in their belief that parts of a golf course dubbed the ‘final piece of the jigsaw puzzle that is South Derbyshire’ will open this summer.
Frank McArdle, chief executive of South Derbyshire District Council, spoke to the Mail while leading an exclusive tour of the site off William Nadin Way, in Swadlincote.
He insisted the driving range at the site was on course for a planned opening within a few months –despite changes being made to the plans which will see an impressive concrete structure replace a previously approved wooden development.
Mr McArdle told the Mail: “The driving range is on course to open this summer.
“The work is all starting to come together now at the site and we are determined to see this project for a golf course, however long it takes, through until it is completed.”
The council chief added that a brand new access road had now been put in place at the site, with major works under way on the golf course greens.
Plans for the new concrete aspect of the driving range are expected to be heard before the council in the coming weeks and, if approved, construction will begin almost immediately.
Mr McArdle also revealed a multi-national golfing firm would soon be unveiled as the operator of the site after Colin Jenkins, a PGA qualified professional, left the project after environmental issues related to the wind meant his proposed wooden structures for parts of the site were deemed ‘not viable’.
However, the top man at the district council would not be pushed on revealing the name of the company, choosing only to say that the move was ‘exciting’ for the project and the area.
He was also quick to stress that, despite the change in terms of running the site, the driving range and course would still be aimed at golf for those of all ages and abilities.
Mr McArdle previously told the Mail that this was one of his and the council’s passion projects, and was ‘delighted’ to see the progress being made.
He said: “If you could imagine South Derbyshire as a big jigsaw, we see this as the final piece.
“It will be a benefit to the community, which was always the plan in the first place, but also bring yet more people into South Derbyshire than ever before.
“Everyone is so excited about the arrival of this golf course and I cannot wait to see people from across the area hitting balls down the fairway.”
Several major hotel chains have been eyeing the possibility of developing a facility at the golf course once it is fully operational.
The final completed project will have cost an estimated £20 million.