A MULTI million pound development scheme has been drawn up in a bid to secure the future of a loss-making County Durham golf course.

Hall Construction Services Ltd reopened Woodham Golf and Country Club, in Newton Aycliffe, last summer, after its closure in November 2013 when previous owners Washington Developments ran into financial difficulties.

Newton Aycliffe-based Hall Construction hopes to carry out extensive improvements at the site, which would be supported by using part of the land for housing.

The public can learn more about the proposals, which include plans for around 50 homes, at a consultation event at the golf course on Saturday, April 25, from 11am to 4pm.

It is being handled on behalf of Hall Construction by the Newcastle office of national economics and planning consultancy Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners (NLP).

Neil Westwick, planning director at NLP, said: “Hall Construction are exploring the opportunity of releasing a small section of the golf course for a housing development to generate funding to complete vital improvement works and assist in maintaining the golf course over the longer term.

“Since purchasing the club in 2014, Hall Construction has made significant investment into the golf course and clubhouse, facilitating the reopening of the club.

“However, further extensive works are still required to the course to address long standing issues and to secure its long term future.”

In 2012 the previous owners secured planning permission for 50 executive family homes and a 75-bed hotel but the new proposal significantly reduces the area of development and does not include a hotel.

The course improvement plans include upgrades of all greens and bunkers, restoration of water features and a complete overhaul of the inadequate drainage system which currently sees the course closed around 70 days a year.

NLP say the proposals are vital to secure the future of the course, which employs 25 people, and would create at least 45 construction jobs during two years of development work.

Mr Westwick said: “Woodham Golf and Country Club is still operating at a loss and this is not sustainable.

“The club needs to attract and retain new members to be a viable business and this can only be achieved through significant investment and the raising of the standard of the golf course to drive increased membership and revenue.

“Hall Construction seeks to build on the reputation of the club as a valued community asset and also has a vision to implement a step change at the club that will enable the golf course to compete with other top championship courses across the North East.”