“Council should not pay the full £ 250,000 for a new golf course”


A £ 250,000 adventure golf course under construction in Henley should not be paid for solely by city council, a councilor has said.

Work has started on the new facility, which will replace the old putting green at Mill Meadows.

Will Hamilton, a Conservative opposition member on the council, said other sources of funding should have been sought.

Speaking at a board meeting, he said: “It’s great that it’s moving forward – I’ve always wanted something to go there that’s better than what was there.

“But picking up the whole £ 250,000 bill shouldn’t have been done. We could have gotten a grant. The district council wanted to fund cash-generating projects.

“If we look back, the rugby club was funded at £ 600,000 by club members, £ 200,000 by county council and £ 200,000 by district council.

“The YMCA received £ 100,000 from City Council and £ 100,000 from District Council and the renovation of the cricket club was jointly funded by City Council and District Council.

“We could have gone to Golf England, we could have gone to other organizations.

“I’m raising this issue now because I emailed the city clerk with other fundraising ideas because we should now be talking about sponsoring a hole.

“Maybe Invesco could sponsor a hole, maybe Bremont could sponsor a hole, as that would alleviate some of the significant cost of capital spending.”

The golf course is expected to generate £ 50,000 in profit per year for the council.

Councilor Stefan Gawrysiak, a member of the ruling Henley Residents group, said South Oxfordshire District Council only considered grants twice a year and that it was not appropriate to delay the project only to receive a grant equivalent to the income lost by delaying the project.

He said that in any event, the district was unlikely to accept a grant because the facility would bring money to the city council.

Cllr Gawrysiak said there was still time to ask companies if they wanted to sponsor a hole. He added that Cllr Hamilton had only raised his concerns for the first time to the board’s management and financial strategy committee the week before. Cllr Hamilton shook his head.

Cllr Gawrysiak said, “He never attended a putting green meeting, an adventure golf meeting, never came, never made any suggestions.

“The city clerk has developed a solid business case based on adventure golf outfits across the country. I hope that when it is finished the income generation will be great for the city.

Councilor Ian Reissmann (HRG) said the council had “a lot of money” to spend on projects like this.

“We would be wasting our time if we were to follow this very late objection,” he added.


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