Swinton Park Golf Club
Our client, housing association Your Housing Group, agreed an option to purchase the golf club from the directors of the ownership company, subject to planning permission. The planned development included a residential village plus community, retail and sporting facilities, including a reformulated golf development. The 18 hole golf course would be lost and replaced with a planned 9 hole facility plus modern driving range and adventure golf. We advised on the strategy to obtain planning permission and on the viability of the existing and planned future golf facilities on the site.
The golf club members launched a strong campaign opposing the loss of the golf course and the open space, which gained support from local politicians and the area’s MP. As a consequence, Your Housing Group decided to withdraw from the deal.
The directors maintained throughout that the club was no longer financially viable and the immediate impact of lockdown together with the withdrawal of YHG led them to close the golf club. Recently, the club has been sold to another house developer and the course remains closed.
The Lagoon, Bournemouth
We teamed up with Bridget Baker Consulting to review the business plan for a proposed Surf and Adventure Park on a site close to Bournemouth airport. On a 12 acre site, the surfing lagoon would accommodate over 200 surfers at any one time alongside other sports and adventure activities including: surfing, SUP’s, scuba diving, high and low ropes, Olympic wall climbing, inflatable water park, adventure trails, hideaway health areas, event spaces, clip & climb, caving, VR, escape room, yoga & exercise classes. Overnight stays would be accommodated in glamping pods and other campsite facilities.
Our research and analysis of the business plan and future financial estimates led the directors to accept some changes to the assumptions underpinning the concept but even with adjustments, supported a strong business potential for the proposed development.
Great Wolf Resort, Bicester
John Ashworth worked alongside fellow members of Golf Business International - Swan Golf Designs and Sports Marketing Surveys - and other specialists on behalf of Great Wolf Resorts in securing planning permission on appeal for Great Wolf’s first Lodge and Waterpark in the United Kingdom. The resort consists of a waterpark, family entertainment centre, 498 bedroom hotel, conferencing facilities and restaurants and involves the redevelopment of part of an existing golf course. It would provide a major new tourist destination of widespread appeal for the area. The planning application was refused by Cherwell District Council who, with an alliance of 36 Parish Councils opposed Great Wolf’s appeal. However the appeal was allowed by Planning Inspector George Baird BA(Hons) MRTPI by decision dated 11 May 2021, following a three week virtual inquiry held in February and March 2021.
John Ashworth gave expert witness evidence to the Inquiry successfully challenging one of the planning authority’s grounds for refusal, namely that the development on 9 holes of an existing golf course would be inconsistent with the Council’s Golf Strategy and contrary to paragraph 97 of the National Planning Policy Framework and the Local Plan.