Club hopes to build houses on its course
A Milton Keynes golf club has become the latest to try to venture into property development in order to boost falling income streams.
Windmill Hill Golf Club has seen its membership drop from 600 in 2000 to just 131 in 2010, and rounds of golf at the venue halved in that time.
Furthermore, its clubhouse burnt down in 2007, causing 18 months of business interruption, and the club argues that the replica replacement building is prohibitively expensive to maintain as, at 1,150 square metres, it is too big.
The club therefore last year applied to West Bletchley Parish Council for planning permission to build 89 homes on an area of 2.42 hectares of land, currently consisting of the main clubhouse plus other buildings, a car park and a small part of the golf course. If approved, the club would also use the opportunity to build a new 454 square metre clubhouse plus a driving range and car park, as well as carry out significant landscaping alterations to ensure the club still has an 18-hole course plus a new academy area.
The application stated that ‘the proposed housing development is needed to fund the changes to the golf facilities which are outdated, experiencing declining patronage and making the facility unviable.’
While the council rejected the proposal last autumn following local opposition, Golf Course Management (Milton Keynes), which runs the golf club, has now appealed against the decision, and the hearing will be heard on April 23.
Vice chairman of the council, Elaine Wales, said: “We oppose the proposed planning for residential development on Windmill Hill.
“We must oppose the appeal. They must not get away with building on this open space. It will impact on local housing and on the roads and on the quality of the environment. We must stop it.”
Dunbar Golf Club recently announced it was intending to build properties on land it owns to fund course improvements, while Brynhill Golf Club hopes to erect houses on part of its course to cover a recent drop in income.