Initial plans for a 50-bedroom hotel at The Oxfordshire Golf Club were turned down last year but a successful appeal has seen the decision overturned. The club, near Thame, has now been granted permission to commence building and the first visitors are expected to be welcomed in 2010.
In addition to the 46 double rooms and four suites the new building will also house an indoor swimming pool and fitness suite including a fully equipped gym, sauna and treatment rooms.
The hotel announcement comes soon after first-rate professional golf returned to the championship course with the Ladies English Open, a Ladies European Tour event, contested over three rounds on the Rees Jones course – the only layout in the UK from that renowned designer.
It was revealed during the planning appeal that the golf course presently runs at a loss and is subsidised by the club’s owners the Leaderboard Group. Part of the business plan to bring the facility into profitability involves the provision and income from hotel accommodation.
Leaderboard indicated that the proposed hotel extension would secure the future of the golfing facility with its 70 jobs, create new jobs within the hotel and support 66 local services and suppliers.
This clearly made an impact of the inspector’s decision which in part reads, “The hotel extension would clearly be a subsidiary activity related to the existing golf club, sharing existing facilities for a combined operation. It would also replace other existing and permitted buildings.
“It would also contribute to the local economy, place the golf club in a better position to bid for major tournaments and reduce existing journeys to and from the site through the provision of accommodation.”
Paul Gibbons, chairman of the club’s owners the Leaderboard Group, said: “This is fantastic news for us and theses really are exciting times. We have one of the finest courses in the country at The Oxfordshire and we’re finally on our way to having the infrastructure to match that.
“Not only will it mean people can come from further afield to stay the night when they visit the club but it will also enable us to expand on what we’ve already done with the Ladies English Open and bring bigger and better events to a course with a fantastic pedigree.”
The planning inspector has set down a condition requiring the submission of a ‘Golf Tournament Major Event Management Plan’ as of benefit to ensue a sustainable plan is in place to cater for visitors and spectators.
Leaderboard Golf has made an application for costs against South Oxfordshire District Council. This application will be the subject of a separate decision.
The Oxfordshire www.theoxfordshiregolfclub.com