Staff shocked by closure news at mid Norfolk golf club

The professional at a mid Norfolk golf club has spoken about his sadness at the proposed closure of the business.

The EDP understands about 25 staff have been told they will be made redundant when Norfolk Golf and Country Club at Reymerston, near Dereham, closes on December 23.

According to a member of the adjoining leisure club, who wished the remain anonymous, an open letter was displayed on the reception desk about the closure.

She added: 'Listening to members in the gym, the changing rooms and the restaurant the rumours are rife and people want answers.'

On Tuesday, the owners Kate and Ray Barlow, refused to discuss the matter and members told the EDP yesterday that the couple were on a week's holiday.

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Tony Varney, who is the professional at the club, said: 'It is very sad we are closing because we are a very respected club. It is somewhere I have been for a lot of years. We are like a big family.'

Mr Varney, who joined the club 14 years ago, said everything was 'above board' and the owners were also very sad about having to close the business.

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'It (the club) is a beautiful place and has a beautiful golf course. The staff are brilliant and so friendly,' he added.

The professional said that a team from the Reymerston club had won the county-wide Myhill Trophy for the first time this year and the Cullington Cup last year, another Norfolk-based competition.

Built in 1993, the club has an estimated 350 members and was put on the market by the owners in September with a guide price of �1.6m.

The EDP has spoken to a number of members who were left shocked by the sudden announcement that the club has been sold to a farmer.

John Tavener, of Wendling, near Dereham, a club member said: 'I'm just disappointed that the owner hasn't consulted with the members about selling the club. The morale is very low and there is a lot of sadness. People are particularly cut up about it. There is a great bunch of people at the club. It is in a lovely, rural setting with lots of wildlife.'

He pays �60 per month for his membership and said he had not heard about what would happen in terms of financial payments. Other members can pay �692 for the whole year.

Staff learned of the closure at a meeting on Monday, it is believed.

Wendy Vail, another member, said she learned of the news when she visited the club Tuesday morning and the news was an 'absolute shock'.

A health club was added in 1997 and the owner has since developed a detached manager's house and gained planning permission for 15 holiday homes.

There is also a golf shop, day nursery, restaurant, function room and greenkeeper's building, while the fitness club includes three beauty rooms, a gym, two swimming pools, a spa and sauna.

Estate agent Savills indicated the owner would consider retaining the house and holiday home site and selling the golf and country club separately with a guide price of �1.25m.

Mr Barlow would not confirm the sale or closure of the club, but said he was in discussions with staff.

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