Mill Ride Golf Club and estate, near Ascot, has been sold for £7 million to Folgate Ltd, an Irish-owned property development company, which has no interest in golf and has given the club members until the end of May to raise £3.5 million to purchase the golf course and club house.
At this moment it is understood that up to six groups of members and associates are making serious attempts to raise the cash but Folgate Ltd has made it clear that should these efforts not succeed on 1st June the Club will be offered for sale on the open market.
Mill Ride Golf Club opened in 1990 and the golf course, designed by Donald Steel, is generally regarded as a fine test, measuring 6,752 yards with a SSS of 72. The original developers, however, were unable to make a commercial success of the venture and eventually Lazian Ltd, a company in which the prominent Suharto family from Indonesia has the controlling interest, purchased the property from Barclays Bank.
Adjacent to the golf course is a block of 22 luxury apartments, let on short-term contracts and much favoured by celebrities including Premiership footballers and their wives. These apartments are understood to have provided Lazian Ltd with more annual income than the golf operations.
The apartments offer immediate development opportunities to the new owners but, in the longer term, there is also the possibility of being allowed to put new housing on other parts of the estate. The existing golf driving range is immediately adjacent to the apartment block and would provide at least 10 acres of development land if planning permission could be obtained.
The land is at present zoned as Green Belt and Bracknell Forest Unitary Authority, the local planning body, has received no applications to develop any land within the Mill Ride Estate. On the other hand there are many pressures for new housing development in this part of England and the new owners may well believe that in the next few years the rules will change.
Mill Ride Golf Club www.mill-ride.com