SPECULATION Arrowe Park municipal golf course is on the verge of being transferred to private ownership has proved to be without foundation.

Rumours among Wirral's golfers convinced many a switch to private hands was imminent.

But a council spokesman said today the tendering process for the golf courses had yet to be completed and the authority was "not at the stage where any provider has been agreed."

He added: "We are currently awaiting detailed proposals."

Response to a recent marketing exercise revealed a high level of interest in all local authority courses from a range of operators.

The council says its research shows it would be possible to protect its requirements for "affordable and accessible golf" on the peninsula, while eliminating a local authority subsidy running to hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Income from council-controlled courses has fallen significantly over the last two years, triggering concern the subsidy would have to increase.

To try to secure the best deal, Wirral officers have been working closely with Cheshire West and Chester Council.

A recent report to Wirral’s council cabinet pointed out if the it did not press ahead with transformation plans for the golf courses, then major reductions in the leisure services budget over the next two years would not be delivered.

The venues involved in the possible transfer are Arrowe Park, Bradckenwood and Warren (Wallasey) golf courses; Wallasey beach mini- golf course, Arrowe Park pitch and putt and King's Parade, New Brighton, mini-golf.