Former world number one golfer backs bid to save course from holiday park plan

Former world number one golfer Ian Woosnam had backed a bid to buy a Shropshire golf course that is under threat from plans to build almost 100 log cabins, it has emerged.

Ian Woosnam
Ian Woosnam

Earlier this year Coppergreen Leisure Resorts and club owner Ralph Tomley submitted a revised planning application to reduce Henlle Park Golf Club in Gobowen to nine holes, to accommodate a new 90-pitch holiday park on part of the parkland course.

It came months after a similar application for 120 caravans was rejected by Shropshire Council following a public backlash.

The reaction to the latest application has been similar, with 178 objections received so far compared to 29 comments in support.

However a letter to council planners from a business called Chinese Entrepreneurs Golf Club Ltd says the firm had been involved in a bid to buy the golf club, along with Ian Woosnam, who hails from St Martins, and ex professional Tony Minshall.

The letter from the company, which has been published to the council’s planning portal, says: “My Chinese based investors made a bid for Henlle Golf Club which was far in excess of the asking price, we made our offer through Savills of Chester.

“I must object to this major development that is closing down another golf course.

“We also have a great relationship with The Ian Woosnam Golf Courses and Academies who were going to operate it for us.”

A separate statement submitted by Mr Minshall also says he was part of the bid and that he believes the course can be retained as an 18-hole offering.

He says: “As a director of a company involved in taking over a number of failing golf courses and turning them around, and running them profitably under the banner of ‘The Ian Woosnam Golf Academy’, we believe this club can be saved, and the 18-hole course retained with our management expertise.”

The club has been contacted for comment.

The planning application will be decided in due course by Shropshire Council.

Rejecting the previous application in March this year, planning officers said the scheme would affect the character of the area and have a significant detrimental impact on the non-designated Henlle Hall Park, the Grade II-listed Henlle Hall and the setting of sections of Offa’s Dyke which are scheduled monuments.

The applicants say the revised plans overcome the reasons for refusal of the earlier scheme and comply with the council’s development plan and national planning policy.

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