The future of Woodham Golf Course is uncertain following Durham County Council’s negative response to the new development proposals.
Hall Construction Services Ltd submitted new plans to the Council in July 2015 to make major improvements to the golf course and clubhouse, supported by revenue from a proposed small housing scheme, which are vital to securing the venue’s future.
Newton Aycliffe-based Hall Construction, re-opened Woodham Golf Course in Newton Aycliffe in 2014, after its closure in November 2013 when previous owners Washington Developments ran into financial difficulties.
In 2012 the previous owners secured planning permission for the construction of 50 executive family homes, a 75-bed, four-star hotel with conference and spa facilities and landscaping. Following extensive consultation with local residents, golf club members and local councillors, the new plans significantly reduce the area of development and impact on local residents from the previous planning application, and do not include a hotel. There is strong local support for the proposed scheme.
Neville Hall, Director at Hall Construction said that: “Despite local support, Durham County Council are not supporting the scheme is a hotel is not included. We have demonstrated there is insufficient demand to sustain another hotel in the area. The scheme will still deliver significant benefits for the locality and secure the future of the golf course.”
Extensive work is required to the
course in order to secure its long term future, which will be funded from the proposed development. This includes a complete overhaul of the inadequate drainage system, which sees the course closed around 70 days a year.
The course is currently loss making and requires improvements to attract additional members in order to be a viable business. A successful outcome to the new development proposals is needed if the club is to remain an ongoing business to the benefit of the local area and community.
The golf course and clubhouse currently has 25 employees and supports a supply chain of 48 separate businesses. The development could create up to 15 additional jobs at the club and a further 45 construction jobs throughout the construction period.
The proposed development will also deliver valuable benefits to the wider community including the safeguarding of the clubhouse, a commitment to the transfer of the Agnew Plantation to Great Aycliffe Town Council and the introduction of public access around the golf course.

Sam and Neville Hall
Neville Hall with his daughter Samantha

Golf Course Application

The issue over the future development of Woodham Golf Course seems to indicate a lack of co-operation and vision by the County Council Planning Department.
Steven and Neville Hall, Directors of Hall Construction, a family owned Aycliffe construction business, have invested heavily in the purchase and improvement of the golf course, over the road from their Company HQ.
They took over a loss-making facility and are trying hard to bring the course to a very high standard. Included in their plans has been the opening of the clubhouse and restaurant to the general public which is now a hive of activity for weddings, Christenings and other social events. The clubhouse has hosted numerous local charity functions and the free use of the course has been given to community fundraisers.
The planners don’t realise what an asset the course now presents and appear to be blocking the new owner’s plans for the future, forgetting the high rateable value houses on the course would bring to the local economy and the County coffers.
Houses on Golf Courses are common, desirable and the revenue from sales would pay for substantial improvements to the course which in turn would attract more golfers.
The club has already built up the membership with various incentives. Juniors, under 11, have free membership and has increased from 10 to 93 members. The planners forget that the Hall brothers bought the course to keep it from being lost and developed as something quite different – probably housing.
The small number of houses they propose to build is only to make sufficient money to improve the course with no personal financial gain envisaged. Halls have spent over £100,000 in preparing the application plus countless hours of personal time. They have held public consultations with general approval for their plans. The planning officers need to stop delaying progress, see the bigger picture and help Halls Construction fulfil their dream for Woodham Golf Course and our town.