Chipping Norton GC to be transformed
Chipping Norton GC in Oxfordshire is hoping to transform itself into more than a golf club by becoming a venue also for weddings and business conferences.
In a bid to improve its finances the club has applied for planning permission to build a major new function room that would cater for 200 people.
Several golf clubs have expanded their non-golf offerings in recent years, as the economic downturn has resulted in green fees and membership income alone not being sufficient for many. While some golf clubs have struggled in recent years, others, such as Wentworth, no longer describe themselves simply as golf clubs.
Chipping Norton’s planning statement says: “In order to achieve a stable financial position, more needs to be made of the opportunity for the club to be used for outside functions, such as weddings.
“There are few comparable venues in the area, so the provision of a separate larger function room would meet a general local need as well as help to maintain the finances of the golf club.”
While one councillor has expressed his opposition to the plan on the basis that the venue would ‘no longer be a golf club’, another has expressed his support as it could be good for Chipping Norton Golf Club’s long-term financial health.
The club is hoping to extend its existing clubhouse to make room for the large function room.
Councillor Alex Corfield said he looked at the plans with “some surprise and horror”.
“It’s no longer a golf club, it’s become a conference centre,” he said.
“The scale of it should be reduced. I think the design of the building is awful and wide. On design terms I would strongly recommend refusal.”
Councillor David Lydiat, however, disagreed.
“For it to survive long-term, it’s a good business case,” he said.
“It would be a good improvement to the economy. The golf club should be supported. It’s the oldest golf club in Oxfordshire.”