Club applies to build 92 homes as part of survival bid

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 19, 2019 03:14

A Northumberland golf club that has financially struggled in recent years has applied to have nearly 100 new homes built on part of its current course to prevent it from closing down.

Blyth Golf Club’s proposals would involve the demolition of some outbuildings with the new homes to be built on the site of the 10th and 11th holes, while the clubhouse would be renovated, new outbuildings would be put up, including a halfway house, and there would be alterations to the course.

According to ChronicleLive, the plans are for 24 two-bedroom homes, 41 three-bedroom houses and 27 four-bedroom properties, of which eight would be for social rent and six for sale at discount market value.

The planning statement concludes: ‘The golf club is in a poor financial position and without any measures to address this, it is likely that the club would be forced to close in 2019 given the current overdraft position with the bank who are providing crucial financial support.

‘The proposed development would provide the funds required to improve the golf course and the clubhouse, thereby securing the future of the club.’

It claims that the scheme is in line with up-to-date planning policies, adding: ‘The fundamental purpose of the proposed development is to safeguard the viability of the golf club, and the continuation of the important role it provides in offering benefits to the local community and as a tourist attraction’.

The club has struggled over the last seven years due to rising costs and, in particular, a reduction in income, meaning it has found it difficult to maintain the course adequately and now lacks the investment needed to resolve current vandalism issues.

Between January 2013 and December 2017, the club’s income from memberships, green fees and bar sales dropped by a total of just under £80,000.

Losses have reduced since a peak in 2015, but mainly because the club has ‘taken the difficult decision’ to make two members of staff redundant, but this ‘has been to the detriment of the maintenance of the golf course and this is resulting in a decline in the quality of the course’.

The statement adds that ‘financial support from the bank has only been extended on the provision that the proposed sale of the land goes through and the timing of this application is now critical’.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 19, 2019 03:14
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  1. John February 21, 17:32

    We have just advised a planning authority on the merits of a similar application from a golf club in the Midlands. The planners need to be sure that the club’s fortunes will be turned by the investment of receipts from the proceeds of the development. Will throwing money at the problem actually solve it?

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  2. Pete February 21, 15:26

    By adopting the modern course redesign strategy of reducing the course size by 40% and using the new “Hybrid” mid-distance golf ball to match, would allow for a full quick & efficient golf game in 1/2 the time. This will open up more land for development, conform to new eco-standards and provide even more funds to keep the course in business and also attract a new generation of golfers to the game.

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  3. Peter February 14, 15:03

    Of course a good strategy ! However by itself, will prove not enough. For one thing it is important to make certain planned housing is appealing to those who would be potential members. Housing that appeals to young families isn’t wise if club is not family friendly and doesn’t have the correct programs and services. Fully and completely understanding everything and those in your primary market is step one in any survival fight. Defining that market area is often mistake number one. While for some it might be those in a 10-12 mile area, for others it might be a 25-30 mile area. Where are most of your members coming from and what do they want ? Simple yet far too many get it wrong !

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