Aberdeenshire golf clubs ‘may go under’ due to rates relief change

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir August 31, 2016 13:04

More than 50 golf clubs in Aberdeenshire have been hit by a new levy on business rates.

Up until just a few weeks ago any licensed sports clubs in Aberdeenshire received a 100 per cent reprieve to discretionary relief on business rates.

However Aberdeenshire Council has now removed that reprieve, meaning that licensed premises at non profit sports groups, including dozens of golf clubs, which may be deemed to be in direct competition with other local businesses, will receive 80 per cent relief. This means they have been hit with huge bills.

The council said clubs which provide catering or have a licence to sell alcohol ‘puts them in direct competition’ with the likes of pubs and restaurants that do not benefit from such support.


Aberdeenshire Council

Ellon’s McDonald Golf Club is among those that objected to the proposals in the first instance.

The organisation has been forced to increase its annual membership by £10 annually in order to cope with the changes.

Club secretary George Ironside said: “We did write a letter of protest when the thing came out initially. We got the first bill in May.

“We used to pay nothing, now we pay 20 per cent. We were told we had no option but to pay it. We made out a case for why we shouldn’t be paying it. They said if the club had a bar that was how it was going to be applied.

“We had to adjust our fees accordingly to compensate for the extra payment. We didn’t want to have to pay it in the first instance, but we were told the decision had been made by the council.”

Les Durno, general manager at Cruden Bay Golf Club, said: “It has hit us this year quite hard, but we are one of the lucky clubs, we have been very busy. We will just have to watch it.”

Another man involved with an Aberdeenshire golf club, who, according to The Press and Journal, did not wish to be named, said the club had received a rates bill topping £4,000 in May.

He added: “I think we’ll survive but I think many clubs will end up going to the wall because of this. For the better off clubs it is maybe not a huge problem.

“But many organisations trying to break even are having to pay a few thousands pounds.”

Non-licensed ones will continue receiving the full 100 per cent relief.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir August 31, 2016 13:04
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  1. Frank Clapp September 1, 14:18

    £10 increase, wow! £4000 rates bill, wow! Come to the English home counties where we have to £60k plus a year in rates!

    Reply to this comment
    • Jimmy Davidson September 2, 15:22

      I take it those clubs don’t receive any relief under the Local Government Finance Act whereby a CASC – Community Amateur Sports Club – automatically gets 80 per cent off and can also apply for a further discretionary discount

      Reply to this comment
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