Golf club will be transformed into luxury holiday resort, say investors
PUBLISHED: 11:51 23 November 2019 | UPDATED: 16:40 23 November 2019
Investors behind a bid to transform a Norfolk golf club into a multi-million pound leisure resort have insisted the project is still going ahead, despite months of silence.
In April we reported that Richmond Park Golf Club, on Saham Road, Watton, could be in line for development after a company called Hamilton Hewitt hosted an evening to attract investors.
Brochures put out by Hamilton Hewitt said it was raising £25m to develop Richmond Park into a "private gated community" which would include a 60-bedroom hotel, spa, gym and swimming pools.
They said it would be a "luxury retreat" which would include 120 holiday lodges.
But people who already own timeshares at the golf club said they had been left angry and confused by letters they received from a marketing company, called Aston Cleaverly, telling them they would need to pay £2,000 to surrender their timeshare, or face higher bills.
The golf club's current owner, Simon Jessup, however, said that the sale would be going through shortly and timeshare owners who had paid exit fees would be getting their paperwork.
Some of the timeshare owners paid money this summer to Aston Cleaverly, but said they had not heard anything back or received an invoice.
Jennifer Stanton, 76, from Chelsmford, paid £1,000 after receiving a letter in March from them stating that her fees would be going up.
"After several phone conversations with them which made me very anxious, I decided to pay up after getting a reduced offer of £1,100," she said.
"They would say I had to make up my mind now, otherwise it would be too late and the option to get out would be gone."
But after paying the money she said she did not receive an invoice from Aston Cleaverly and her attempts to contact them have been fruitless.
The company's website has also been taken down.
Another timeshare holder, who did not wish to be named, said she had paid £300 this summer to Aston Cleaverly but not heard anything from the company either.
You may also want to watch:
"I had an awful job trying to get information from anybody," she said.
Christine Hedges, spokesperson for Richmond Park Timeshare Owners Group, said they were shocked when the letters arrived from Aston Cleaverly.
"We tried to find out from Richmond Park precisely what was going on," she said.
"As timeshare owners who have put our money into the resort continually over many years we have been treated appallingly."
Mr Jessup said there had been delays in a small number of cases because of Aston Cleaverly's "lack of understanding" about the exit process for timeshares.
He said the firm was hired by the company buying the golf club and was no longer involved in the process.
"We have taken over the duty of ensuring that all those who came to an agreement to leave, will do so without any further liability," he said.
One the sale and redevelopment of the club, he said that was still progressing and he hoped it would be completed in the "very near future".
"My understanding is that there are still plans for extensive holiday development around the course," he said.
He said his family was selling for personal reasons and the sale "represents a chance for the club to see the type of investment and move in a direction that will secure its future for many years to come".
The company buying the site, Helvetica Capital Ltd said it remained committed to buying Richmond Park and surrounding parcels of land and hoped to complete the purchase by the end of November.
Helvetica's finance director, Robin Miller, said a planning application would be submitted in April or May next year for the redevelopment and building of 100 to 120 holiday lodges.
Mr Miller added that the project would be funded by "private equity and personal investment" after an initial bond offering did not get enough interest.
Helvetica Capital Limited was formed in January this year and is registered to an accountant's office in London.