Crown Golf has sold South Winchester Golf Club to a housing company, sparking fears that the Hampshire-based club will be developed.
The club has been sold to Bloor Homes, which also recently bought Basingstoke Golf Club with a view to building 1,000 new houses in the site.
The club’s 18-hole course, which was designed by Dave Thomas and Peter Alliss, first opened in 1993 and was built on former farmland.
The course is subject to a deed of covenant which prevents development of the site until 2026 at the earliest, ensuring the club’s short-term future, although after that time Bloor Homes will be free to do with the land at it sees fit, subject to receiving the necessary planning permissions.
Roger Tomey, South Winchester GC’s general manager, told the Hampshire Chronicle: ”I can confirm that Crown Golf have agreed terms to sell the freehold of the club to Bloor Homes. If the agreement is completed, the club will be leased back to Crown Golf initially for the period of the covenant, which may be extended if the land is not taken forward within the Winchester City Council local housing plan. This means that the golf club remains secure for at least the next five years and there will be no change to how we operate the club.”
He added: “Our primary focus remains solely on running the best golf club possible and that will not change. We have continued to carry out improvements to the clubhouse and the course, and our focus will continue to be on making membership at the club enjoyable for all and we look forward to a great golfing season ahead.”
Jan Warwick is one of several local county councillors to express their disappointment at the change of ownership. She said: “Local residents will be very concerned following the announcement of this sale. A significant development proposal on this site would be considered strategic growth under planning rules and would therefore need to be included in Winchester City Council’s local plan. We must protect our green fields and settlement gaps and I will continue to do everything in my power to stop development here.”