MEMBERS of a North-East golf club last night voted overwhelmingly in favour of a plan which could see the club move and undergo re-development.

The members of Darlington Golf Club voted 221-36 to back a partnership with developer Theakston Estates Ltd, which owns arable farmland to the north of the club’s existing site.

Under the plan, the club would move onto a site on the company’s land, to the north of the existing site and nearer the River Skerne, and the current golf club site would be developed for housing.

Christopher Harrison, of Theakston Estates Ltd, addressed the meeting and said afterwards: “Since 2008, we estimate that Darlington Borough Council has delivered only 50 per cent of the houses that it needs to meet requirements so this plan would help it move closer to its target.

“The members voted overwhelmingly in favour of a proposal which would see the club move nearer to the site where it was created a century ago and which would also allow houses to be built on the current site of the club.”

Club chairman David Peat dismissed suggestions that the club would leave the area and merge with Blackwell Golf Club instead.

He said: “There was a good turnout at the meeting and the proposal was positively received with the overwhelming majority in support.

"This is a win-win situation for us, the developer and the town as it strives to meet its housing needs.

“Over the past few years we and most other golf clubs have been struggling to make ends meet and the signs indicate that things could, and probably will, get worse as we all fight for a limited number of members.

“This proposal allows us to build a course of our choice, have an efficient club house and facilities, affordable subscriptions and a strong balance sheet to make continuous improvement, all of this without any disruption to playing golf or any risk to our organisation.

“We believe that this unique opportunity only comes around once in a lifetime and provides facilities and a solid financial base to take us forward into the future.”

Theakston Estates and the club will now embark on consultations with the planning authority and the local community before drawing up detailed plans.