Norfolk golf club set to be sold to its tenant

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir January 19, 2024 12:36

A golf club that was purchased by its local council 17 years ago is set to be sold back to its tenant.

Barnham Broom Golf Club was sold to Breckland Council in 2006 for £7 million, which proved to be a controversial purchase as there have been several stories in the media over the years, critical of the amount paid.

Reports state that it will be sold back for less than what the council purchased the venue for.

However, Breckland Council has said the investment still generated a “substantial profit” through rental income over the last 17 years, which has been used to deliver its services to residents in the district.

At a scrutiny committee meeting, Paul Hewett, executive member for property, projects and procurement said: “The investment has served its purpose and has yielded a good return.

“For the last 17 years interest rates have been low. Focusing on the loss of capital misses the bigger picture as it has generated a lot more money than if we hadn’t bought it.”

Harry Clarke, leader of the Labour opposition group, said: “You can look back with a rose-tinted view and say, ‘I wouldn’t have done that’. No one makes a bad decision intentionally.

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“Would I do it now? The world has fundamentally changed since 2006 and we need to be more cautious about the investment decisions we make.”

Roger Atterwill, leader of the Independent and Green Group, argued that while it produced revenue, the sale means the council has lost money to spend in the future.

“It is like selling the family silver, which we won’t be able to leverage,” he said.

“It has underdelivered and caused lots of heartache along the way.”

Members of the opposition groups voted against the sale at the scrutiny meeting but it was later passed by the Conservative-controlled cabinet, amid a rising overspend of its budget.

The golf club and hotel provided 10 percent of the authority’s revenue income from its commercial portfolio but it is not thought any funding for services will be affected by the sale as the drop in revenue has already been factored in.

In line with the 2006 contract, current tenant Barnham Broom has the first opportunity to buy the premises.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir January 19, 2024 12:36
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