A Norfolk council leader has said he is “confident” his authority will not make a loss on its controversial purchase of a golf club, which it is now selling. 

Breckland Council acquired the land of Barnham Broom Golf Club in 2006, buying it for £7.48m, including stamp duty.

The authority is now in the process of agreeing to sell the club to an undisclosed buyer, but a contract has not yet been signed with the final sale price. 

Sam Chapman-Allen, the authority’s Conservative leader, said however that “in its entirety”, he was “comfortable and confident that we will have made a profit from the asset”.

Eastern Daily Press: Sam Chapman-Allen, Conservative leader of Breckland CouncilSam Chapman-Allen, Conservative leader of Breckland Council (Image: Breckland Council)

A document recently published by the council forecasts that the authority will take in £5.52m as a “capital return”, following the club’s sale. 

Maxine O’Mahoney, Breckland’s chief executive, said that figure was “not necessarily the sale price” because the sale had not yet been completed.

Eastern Daily Press: Maxine O'Mahoney, chief executive of Breckland CouncilMaxine O'Mahoney, chief executive of Breckland Council (Image: Gary Donnison Photography 2021)

She added that the sale was complex and that there “may be other things in the deal that we’re not able to, at this stage, talk about.”

She said: “Where we can put things in the public [domain], we obviously will do. 

“We’re not trying to hide things, but when you’ve got a business that’s a viable, running business, the last thing you want to do is anything that’s going to disturb or upset that business in terms of their ability to continue working - and in the meantime, working through what the deal finally looks like.”

The council is currently appealing against a ruling from the Information Commissioner’s Office [ICO], which has said that it should publish the minutes of private discussions about the club.

Eastern Daily Press: Barnham Broom Golf ClubBarnham Broom Golf Club (Image: Barnham Broom Golf Club)

The ICO said the council had “failed to demonstrate” why particular details could not be immediately published, but Breckland insists the information is “commercially sensitive”. 

Mr Chapman-Allen said the club was just one of several assets the council had invested in across Norfolk, which had allowed Breckland to remain financially healthy. 

“Without that commercial property portfolio… giving us a positive revenue income, I would be saying that I have to cut frontline services," Mr Chapman-Allen said.