Toxic waste fears at Hillsborough golf club

FEARS over the possible dumping of toxic waste at Hillsborough Golf Club may lead to a police investigation and the digging up of the course.

Demands for the fourth and fifth holes to be excavated have come from club President Peter Gleadall and are expected to be backed at an extraordinary general meeting of members in the next few days.

The move comes after a damning independent report commissioned by the club concluded that 28,000 tonnes of demolition spoil were tipped on the course during the remodelling of the holes - and NO records were kept of what was dumped there.

Around 1400 lorryloads of unknown material were taken to the site between August 2000 and July 2001 without control or monitoring, says the report which also slams City Council planning officials for not upholding their own planning conditions despite visits to the site.

Rumours and speculation have surrounded the club's affairs since 2000 when the project was started and over a seperate and unrelated incident in which former member Roger Baker was kicked out after a row with the club committee.

Former Yorkshire Golf champion and ex-club President Jack Timms was the man put in charge of the project and the only man - according to the 29-page report - who really knew exactly what was going on.

Mr Timms, who despite two visits and a letter sent to his home in Wisewood, did not want to talk to the Star about the report so damning of his organisation and stewardship of the now infamous fourth nd fifth hole project. Waste from several Sheffield demolition sites is believed to have been dumped and head greenkeeper Ian Whitehead is reported to have seen steel re-inforcing bars protruding from rubble in an area that, according to Council planning regulations, should only have been in-filled with topsoil.

In its overview the 29-page report says: "The project suffered very badly from a lack of objectivity in consent, design, construction and project management and from an almost complete lack of commercial and financial control, characterised most notably by a lack of responsibilty on the part of the managment board."

Current Club President Peter Gleadall said: "Members are disgusted by this report. If there is any doubt over what is buried there we should dig it up and find out what's in there.

I was victim of 'autocractic management'

"There are rumours that asbestos and other toxic material might be in there and people have been covering up and covering up. How could the committee of the day allow this to happen? I think we should find out what is buried there and get rid of the suspicion hanging over the club." Green Party Councillor for Sheffield Central Jillian Creasey has been sent a copy of the report and said: "If no-one kept proper records on what was tipped that is a criminal offence and something the police should be looking into."

After all the tortuous goings on and committee hours spent on the project the 4th hole is still not in use - seven years after the project begun.

So what do the current membership think?

Unfortunately not many of them know about the report.

It is available to the club's 500 members members who request one at the club but they have not been sent a copy individually in the interests of economy, said Current Club Secretary Gerry Smalley.

"There is no reaction to the report as yet," said Mr Smalley. "The members are taking the report and reading it. I don't think it's going to be that much of a shock to people. There will be a meeting to decide on various options. There will be an EGM but it's too early to say whether there will be any disciplinary action against anyone."

The inquiry was conducted by Nigel Grice, Pat Molloy and Martin Crookes although Mr Molloy was unable to play much of a role due to illness.

More on next page.A MYSTERY remains at the heart of the inquiry into Hillsborough Golf Club.

What happened to the 50,000 that should have been generated by the dumping of an estimated 28,000 tonnes of waste on the course?

The 29-page report into the long-running fourth and fifth holes debacle at the golf club says no evidence of financial impropriety was found but acknowledges that any cash generated by the tipping was never accounted for.

The report highlights the possible existence of the money saying:

"Current estimates of tipping on the site are of the order of 12,800 cubic metres or 28,000 tonnes.From this, it can be seen that the volume of spoil tipped during the project could potentially have generated income in the order of 125,000.

Later the report says; "It follows that some or possibly more of that original projection of a 50,000 surplus was actually realised in the final project.

"However, the absence of tipping records and financial information means that this figure and its whereabouts will remain unknown."

Back to main news index.

Back to the top of the page