Golf course is protected from building after sale to mysterious local benefactor

Golf course is protected from building after sale to mysterious local benefactor

Tunbridge Wells Golf Club, next to the Spa Hotel, has been the subject of much speculation in recent years, after developer Target Follow bought an option to build on the site.

The company, which already owns Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall Commons as well as The Pantiles made an offer in 2015 to buy the Langton Road course for a reported £1.75million.

The golf course, which was founded in 1892, was owned by about 100 ‘shareholder’ members.

Eventually, Targetfollow struck a £50,000 annual deal with the members for an option to buy the site if they got planning permission for developments on the course approved.

Earlier this year, after successive planning applications were turned down by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council (TWBC), the developer cancelled the option on the golf course, which has latterly become home to the relatively new practice of ‘Footgolf’, leading to further speculation that another builder would take over the site to create a dense housing complex.

TWBC had also previously been rumoured to have been interested in the nine-hole course with the aim of turning it into an educational facility.

But the site has now been bought by private local purchaser.

A spokesperson for the mysterious buyer, who doesn’t want to be identified, told the Times that the site has been bought with the purpose of protecting the course from development thus retaining its place on the green belt.

Club Chairman Stephen Grogan said: “There has been much concern and expectation from members and locals alike that such a prime site of 40 acres close to the centre of Royal Tunbridge Wells would be too tempting for a large developer to resist.

“However myself and the Trustees are delighted that a private purchaser came forward with good intentions to protect the swathes of green land that makes up the golf course from an unsuitable development.” Local resident, Stef Worsley, who was also a former member of the club, said the people around the Langton Road area had been ‘very concerned’ about the fate of the much-loved green space.

“It has been a gold course since 1892 but the fear was that a developer would snap it up and build housing on it and the club would be lost forever.”

But he added that it was bad management that saw the golf course become vulnerable for development, adding: “It was poor management over the years that let things slide and it lost too much money and it became too tempting a target for property developers.

“It is a relief it is now safe, although who is to say whoever has bought it won’t eventually put it up for sale.”

Do you know the mystery buyer of the golf course? Contact

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