Breckland Council approves �2.5m improvements at golf club it owns in Barnham Broom, between Norwich and Dereham

A council that controversially bought a golf club for �8m has given the company that runs it permission to invest �2.5m to improve its facilities and grounds.

Breckland Council purchased Barnham Broom Hotel and Golf Club, between Dereham and Norwich, in 2006 as an investment and leased it to Barnham Broom Golf Club, and stressed the improvements would be funded entirely by the club.

The council has always insisted its return on the investment is higher than it would have received from a bank, and according to information released under the Freedom of Information Act in March it charges �480,000 a year in rent, with a 5.38pc rate of return up to that date.

All 46 bedrooms have already been refurbished and further improvements planned for the next two to three years include a refurbishing of Flints restaurant with a new external dining terrace, an upgrade to the sports bar and an extension and upgrade of the Edge Health and Fitness Club.

The council's cabinet approved the improvements at its meeting on Tuesday, but the decision was taken behind closed doors because of commercial sensitivity.

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Colin Bothway, chairman of Barnham Broom said: 'We have received great support from Breckland Council in developing these plans and this agreement means our ambitions to grow Barnham Broom's business in the numerous leisure sectors in which we operate are a step nearer to being realised.

'Despite the tough economic times, we have continued to invest in Barnham Broom and believe that we can offer our members, guests and customers a continuously improving experience as we build on our success.'

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