Private firm expected to secure golf club’s future

This Is Wiltshire: Kim Ayres Kim Ayres

THE chairman of Broome Manor Golf Club has expressed his delight at the news Twigmarket Limited is set to take over the course in a new lease.

On Tuesday it was announced all of the council’s leisure and golf facilities were to be leased out in a bid to save £1.5m in subsidies.

Twigmarket has said it is looking to invest heavily to improve not only the course but also the clubhouse and other facilities. The lease is for the next 75 years and the company will also be leasing Highworth Golf Club for 25 years.

Chairman Kim Ayres said Twigmarket was his preferred choice of company given their experience in the industry.

He said: “The news is absolutely brilliant and I think everyone is pleased that Twigmarket have been given the lease.

“We were told there were quite a few bidders for the lease but the only one who took the time to come down to Broome Manor and speak with us was Jeremy Sturgess, who is a director at Twigmarket.

“He spoke for about three hours about the club and possible plans they have for investment.

“They run Trent Park Golf Course (in north London) and when you look at that there are encouraging signs.”

While no plans have been confirmed, the Adver understands there are intentions to invest in drainage improvements on the course, refurbishing the restaurant and possibly putting in overnight accommodation.

Kim says the announcement has also come as a relief to many as there were worries about the long-term future of Broome Manor.

He said: “There had been a lot of talk about 99-year leases and the possibility of shutting the course in three years to convert the land into housing.

“It may not have much value for leisure but there was talk of Broome Manor being worth up to £250m so it is a good sign of the council’s commitment to golf that they appear to have not gone down that route.

“Having spoken with Jeremy I am convinced that is not what he is planning. If you are looking to build houses then you would not spend money improving course drainage.”

Before it is fully confirmed, the lease is set to go before cabinet next week when they are expected to recommend to full council next month.

Twigmarket confirmed on Tuesday they were only interested in improving the golf facilities in the town and will not raise prices.

In a statement, Mr Sturgess said: “If we are eventually selected as the preferred golf operator we plan to invest significant sums over the years to improve the facilities.

“Twigmarket are public golf course operators pure and simple and look forward to providing visitors and members with the best quality and value golf in Wiltshire. There will be no increase in green fee or annual pass prices above inflation for the foreseeable future.”

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