A GOLF club that was forced to close last year owing to financial problems is expected to re-open next month with new owners at the helm.

Woodham Golf and Country Club, near Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, closed last November, shattering its Irish owner’ dream of creating a £32m housing and leisure development on the site.

It was put up for sale by Savills in February and today (Thursday, June 5) Hall Construction, a Newton Aycliffe-based building and civil engineering firm, confirmed it had bought the club.

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The company, which has an office across the road from the course, is run by brothers Stephen and Neville Hall, who told The Northern Echo they were committed to re-establishing it as a golfing destination.

Stephen Hall said: “We have been pursuing the club for around six months and are delighted to have secured it.

“We want to maintain it as a golf club. We have lived in the Newton Aycliffe area all of our lives and we know it is a great asset to the town.”

Mr Hall said it was hoped the club would reopen in early July, with many ex members of staff, including golf professional Ernie Wilson, already back on board.

As well as the 18-hole golf course and other facilities, the site comes with planning permission for 50 executive homes, a new club house and a 75-bedroom hotel with conference and spa facilities.

Former owner Washington Developments spent five years securing planning permission for the development and described the economic climate that forced the club into administration as a “bitter blow.”

As a builder, Hall Construction is well placed to deliver the scheme but Mr Hall said it was too soon to say whether the company would pursue the opportunity.

“It is difficult to comment as we haven’t had much of an opportunity to look at the plans yet but it is definitely something we want to explore,” he said.

“At the moment we are more concerned about reopening the golf club and boosting membership.”

Councillor John Clare, deputy leader of Great Aycliffe Town Council, said: “I am pleased it is a local business and, if they are committed to restoring the golf course, I welcome the news.”