Cleeve Hill Golf Club closing as tenants pull out
By Rob Freeman | 8th September 2020
Golf will come to an end at Cleeve Hill next year after 130 years with its tenants ending their stay at the end of March.
And Tewkesbury Borough Council has decided to end the licence for the historic course on Cleeve Hill Common after a report said it was not "financially sustainable".
Cleeve Hill Golf Club tenants The Share Club Ltd blamed financial unviability on its decision to serve notice on its 25-year lease.
Latest financial documents show the company had nine employees but a shareholders' deficit of more than £130,000.
The decision prompted the council's report from an independent expert into the future of golf on the the common which delivered the verdict that it "could not be financially sustainable without significant investment and an ongoing subsidy from the council"
A council statement said: "Given this conclusion, and the difficult financial position facing local government, the council's executive committee reluctantly decided to end its licence to use Cleeve Hill Common for the laying out of a golf course from March 31, 2021.
"The council, which owns the clubhouse, has been exploring options for the club's site.
"There are no plans to redevelop it, although the poor condition of the building means there is no other affordable option other than for it to be demolished."
The land will return to the control of the owners Cleeve Common Trust from April 1 with the care park remaining open for walkers.
Councillor Robert Vines, lead member for finance and asset management, said: "It is a shame that local authority golf will end here at Cleeve Golf Club and sadly this will be a particularly difficult time for the club's employees.
"I would like to reassure those who use the common regularly that Tewkesbury Borough Council is very much in support of public access to the area and we will continue to work with Cleeve Common Trust to ensure this remains the case."
"However, the loss of income will impact on the ability of the Trust to maintain the Common and provide services to visitors.
"The current golf clubhouse and the site on which it stands are owned by the Borough Council, but we hope to be actively involved in consideration of its future use as an amenity for visitors."
Councillor Robert Vines, lead member for finance and asset management on the borough council, said in a statement: "It is a shame that local authority golf will end here at Cleeve Golf Club, and sadly this will be a particularly difficult time for the club's employees.
"I would like to reassure those who use the common regularly, that Tewkesbury Borough Council is very much in support of public access to the area and we will continue to work with Cleeve Common Trust to ensure this remains the case."
A statement for the Cleeve Common Trust said it would "allow the area occupied by the golf course to return to the natural state of flower-rich limestone grassland, which will enhance the environment and will mean that more of the Common is available to visitors for other recreational activities."
Golf was first played on Cleeve Hill in 1891 when Cheltenham Golf Club was formed, followed 11 years later by Cheltenham Town Golf Club.
The two clubs shared the course until 1935 when the Cheltenham club closed - two years after their neighbours changed name to Cotswold Hills.
Cotswold Hills stayed on the course until moving to its current home at Ullenwood in 1976.
The Cleeve Hill course, which has the highest point in the Cotswolds just behind the eighth green, was laid out by former Open champion Old Tom Morris.
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