Golf club closes after site is sold
SHORTWOOD Lodge Golf Club is closing down after being sold for possible development.
The club, off Carsons Road in Mangotsfield, was due to shut for the final time on June 27.
Current owner the Golf Group said Shortwood Lodge had been unable to survive in a highly competitive market without the money it could have made had part of the site been sold for housing for £4.5 million, five years ago. That scheme ran into opposition from local politicians, including Kingswood MP Chris Skidmore.
Managing director Duncan Knipe said: “Ultimately the difficulty in building anything here and moving forward is what has forced us into the sale. Basically the business hasn’t been making money, because golf is the way that it is now. There’s so much choice and so much competition.”
Mr Knipe said he could not confirm the final sale price or the identity of the new owners but said they were investors. He said it was “telling” that they did not want to continue to run the club in the short term.
Mr Knipe said there was sadness that the club was closing, adding: “I know the members personally and they understand the position we’ve been in. We tried our best for the place – if we hadn’t bought it 15 years ago, it would have closed sooner. It’s had a good run.”
The four or five members of staff at Shortwood will transfer to one of the Golf Group’s other sites, Woodlands Golf & Country Club in Almondsbury.
Mr Knipe said Shortwood Lodge had been very busy since the closure was announced, as players came back to play a final round.
Last year the club’s owner, Mr Knipe’s father Ian, made a formal response to the South Gloucestershire local plan calling for the area’s Green Belt boundary to be moved so that it could be used for housing, calling the site “suitable, available and deliverable”.
He proposed that the fifth of the 61.6 hectare site closest to the Avon Ring Road could be used to provide 250 new homes.
Most of the club lies in the Boyd Valley ward of South Gloucestershire.
Ward councillor Steve Reade, who is also the Conservative council’s cabinet member for planning, said: “The land in question has been promoted on behalf of the landowners as a suitable development site to meet the housing needs of the area over the next 20 years, as part of the process for preparing the West of England Join Spatial Plan and the council’s new local plan.
“The council, however, does not support strategic growth east of Bristol and continues to recognise instead the important functions performed by Green Belt in this general location.
“Bristol has historically predominantly grown north and eastwards. Strategic growth in this locality would therefore significantly add to the impression of sprawl, undermining the objectives of the Green Belt.”
The spatial plan is the region’s planning blueprint, which lays out where housing, facilities and infrastructure are needed over the next decade. A public examination is due to be held at Bath’s Guildhall, starting on July 2.