0nwgcNorth Worcestershire Golf Club have today confirmed that they have entered into ‘an agreement’ with developer Bloor Homes, stating that they: “have no option but to sell” due to the financial situation of the club.

The Northfield club, at the corner of Hanging Lane and Frankley Beeches Road, has been on the site for over 100 years. It has been the target of housing developers for a number of years, with rumours about potential sale in 2012 and 2013. At that time, the board were adamant there were no plans to sell.

In 2012, the site was excluded as a potential development site in Birmingham City Council’s Core Strategy Plan following a public consultation.

However, at an emergency general meeting in February, members of the club voted to allow the Executive Committee to consider an offer to purchase the land from Bloor Homes, with a view to building hundreds of new homes. 

Many local residents are concerned by the potential sale and 448 people signed a petition against the threat in less than 24 hours.

For sale…

However, board members of the club, alongside representatives of  Bloor Homes and agents Harris Lamb, met with MP Richard Burden (Lab, Northfield) and local councillors this week to discuss proposals for the sale of the club for residential development.

Mr Burden and Councillors Andy Cartwright and Ian Cruise, all strongly opposed to development on the site, were informed of the state of the club’s finances and the reasons for the proposed sale. The club board told them that every option had been considered and that the club is facing insolvency.

Club chairman Roger Adams said that there had been a 34% drop in adult male membership and, with 70% of the club’s current member being aged 65 and over, this would only decrease further.

Mr Adams said that the club had tried to improve their membership and income to no avail, saying: “We have tried discounted membership, course improvements, and special offers to attract new members and visitors but, I’m afraid, with over £350,000 per year needed to simply break even and 80% of our income from membership fees, we’ve been fighting a losing battle!

“To put it starkly, the club is simply unsustainable and we have no option but to sell” he said.

Mr Adams sought to reassure local residents about any future development adding: “However, we will wish to ensure that the local community needs are considered as part of this process.”

Community facilities

Bloor Homes assured those present that a significant part of the site would be developed for public use. Land Director Duncan MacKay said: “I was very pleased to meet with Richard and the councillors and explained to them that a substantial part of the site will be set aside for local community facilities. For instance, sports pitches that could be used by local clubs while other residents could utilise the new open spaces, footpaths and cycleways created alongside the stream – something they are presently unable to do on this privately owned land.

“We will also be talking to the relevant authorities about the infrastructure required to support a residential scheme, including looking at the capacity of local roads, schools and any flooding issues.”

“Tense meeting”

On his own blog, Richard Burden describes: “…a tense meeting without many conclusions…” at which he and the councillors continued to raise concerns and express their opposition.

Mr Burden said: “We owed it to the people we represent to express ourselves frankly and to register the real and widespread public opposition which residents have expressed to the prospect of the Golf Course being built upon. We also emphasised the importance of looking at alternatives to sale and redevelopment. We note what we were told about the financial situation facing the Club, and we may come back to them with further questions on that to enable everyone to understand the full range of options which could be available to them.

“It was clear that Bloor Homes are aware of the real concerns we have about any flood risks that may be associated with redeveloping the Golf Course and sought to assure us that they would remove any such risks. This is a matter we would also wish to pursue further.”

And the MP stressed that, following the meeting, he remains opposed to the plans, saying: “We are be willing to have further conversations with the Club and its partners going forward, but this should not be taken as a softening of our opposition to redevelopment on behalf of local people. The current Birmingham Planning framework precludes building on the Golf Course. Both we and local people will take a great deal of convincing that this should change.”

Consultation

An initial public consultation has been promised to take place before the summer holiday period where Bloor Homes want to hear from local residents what type of facilities they would prefer to see on the site. A more detailed consultation will follow.

We will post information on any consultation meetings as soon as we receive it.

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13 COMMENTS

  1. Money grabbing housing developers will not be happy until there is no green space left in this city. They say they’ll provide sufficient infrastructures and be sympathetic to the environment, but once they have the land they rarely keep any of these promises. Just look at the Oakalls in Bromsgrove for proof of this. I grew up next to this golf course. It will be a sad day when it is covered in red brick!

  2. Bloor Homes said that they will consult with the residents etc during the summer holiday period.We have had these sort of consultations across the city over the years.What they really mean is we will hold them when lots of people are on holidays .Then they say people didn’t turn up to the meetings,so they say people were not interested.Well done Bloor Homes we know the tactics.

  3. Well what do you suggest the golf club does? If it goes into liquidation (which looks inevitable if it doesn’t sell it to someone) it will be no ones responsibility.Then you will be left with derelict rat infested buildings and an overgrown area of unused green land which will probably end up being the haunt of drug addicts, yobs or worse and a policing problem.
    It would be nice to sell it as purely park and recreational land but who has the money for that? Certainly not the Council at the moment. The best bet is to be realistic and hope public and political pressure can reach a compromise.

  4. What a joke are NWGC for real have they put the club up for sale NO.
    Are they getting any hand outs ?………….
    We need to do something lrts see how far these councillors and MP will go.
    Im all for a mass proteast outside the Golf club lets show them are anger we have had to put up with this issue year after year.
    We need to stand up and fight im sure the councillors will be up for it .
    We the residents ars going to fighjt this all the way.

  5. NWGC members will clearly benefit financially from this deal. !!!
    I am sure that doesn’t cloud there committees point of view.
    There are always alternatives if you want to seek them out.!
    Why not talk to northfield councillors and find out how the golf course and its club house could be used more by local people. I for one wouldn’t mind having a round of golf but I am not a golfer and I dont know how to go about it at NWGC.
    I haven’t seen any publicity from them looking for members!!!
    Have they tried working with local schools etc etc.
    The course is worth millions any bank would make a loan against that land to pay off the “debt” etc
    Bloor homes just want a green field site and maximum profit sure they will use warm words and talk about schools, infrastructure, green spaces but they are driven by one thing profit. Beware of Trojans bearing gifts

  6. Bloor Homes spouting fine words. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
    Surrounding area will be blighted with massive increases in traffic.
    What is happening to our ‘Green and pleasant land’

  7. im against the sale of the golf club…fpr the reasons 400 plus homes never say they are going to build new doctors or schools such a strain on the community..but if they did sell I would be up for a single row of houses all the way around the outside of the golf course with access from tessall lane and frankly beeches to house frontages only and enableing to keep the golf course in some form so we get new homes and get to keep the golf course be it smaller so all parties get what they want…

  8. Locally, it is being said that these members will benefit by £60,000 each if the sale goes through. If this is correct perhaps this is why there have been no drives to increase membership or involve the local community before now. This land serves as a giant soak-away during heavy or prolonged spells of rain as we experienced earlier this year and as such should be left as it is. Bloor Homes, like any other profit-hungry developer is keen to stress the “positives” to the community if they are allowed to build. We have seen these “positives” in the past and nothing can ever compensate for the loss of the land. Once it is built upon it is lost forever. We owe it to future generations to make a stand and say “no”. I am delighted our political representatives are fighting on our behalf.

  9. The Golf Club have not ‘tried everything’ to keep the club going! They are typically elitist and now just want to cash in! Where are the ‘taster days’ to encourage young people (or others) to try this sport? Where are the offers for day passes allowing non-members etc. If there have been offers, where have they been advertised? This golf course is completely hidden – virtually no signage and certainly no encouragement to enter! In fact, the entrance is intimidating and off putting. The board should be honest; the majority of members are getting on and want to cash in.

    • I totally agree Christine I live in Northfield and have never received anything to say support the club. Do they have social evenings the public can go to ? It would be interesting to know the details of their efforts to save the Golf club but too late now I suppose.

  10. Why don’t all the people who object join the club and return it to a profit making concern , I believe there are some obnoxious members of this club so perhaps some fresh younger blood could turn it around . A lot of businesses are having trouble at the moment but it is probably a temporary situation. They must remember when it’s gone it’s gone

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