The New Meldham Wood

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Sutton Hospitality interview Helen Lake, owner of Ashton Golf Course - a 9-hole golf course, driving range and clubhouse set in 40 acres of stunning Lancashire countryside. The golf industry has struggled over the past decade and Ashton Golf Centre was not immune to the industry problems of the inclement weather, private golf courses discounting green fees and the nomadic golfer.


They applied for planning permission to build holiday lodges on the 3.5 acre outfield of the driving range. The field is totally secluded, surrounded by old stone walls, woodland and amazingly peaceful. Now, with full planning permission granted, Martin and Helen had a few decisions to make. How to move the project forward. They realized that they needed an industry expert, a great builder or a sale!


The worry of taking on such a large project with no experience, as well as, still running the golf business, funding the project, finding the right people to collaborate with. It was a minefield. Helen went online to do some research and ended up reading most of the Sutton Hospitality website and thought, yes, I need to make contact. Within a few days of the initial contact, Andy had made a site visit, spent hours walking the site and discussing the whole operation.


As business owners in the leisure sector, you have to work with like-minded, forward thinking, optimistic people. So when we met Andy there was an instant connection. It was as if he could see into our minds and was going to produce the exact vision of our business in the future.


We are also realists, so we know that the development won’t all be plain sailing, no business ever is, but having an industry expert with huge amounts of knowledge, energy and optimism was for us critical in the decision to appoint Sutton Hospitality Consultants. Since choosing Sutton Hospitality to project manage our development, I have been amazed how far we have progressed in such a short space of time and the great thing is, I have only had to answer a few questions and confirm approval of “stuff”. We have literally left it to them whilst we get on with the rest of our business. This is unfamiliar territory for us as we are normally totally hands on business owners but it has actually been very refreshing to have someone on board that I trust and can call anytime.


We are really excited for the future. We see a totally different side of the business emerging. We love Ashton and its fabulous surroundings so to be able to create a luxury retreat for other people to enjoy will be incredible. Golf has always been our passion and it will still play a major part, but it isn’t just the golf that is so attractive here. Everyone who sees it says it’s incredible. We took a great risk when we bought the golf course and there have been times when we asked ourselves, did we do the right thing but looking now into the future, we absolutely did.  The future is definitely brighter. When we walk around the site, go through the woods, down to the river, along to the café for ice-cream, we have to pinch ourselves. It could be pouring with rain, snowing or beautiful sunshine, it really doesn’t matter…it’s stunning.

Sutton Hospitality Consultants pride themselves in helping land owners earn an income from their land by generating it into various methods of alternative accommodation. If you have green or brown field land, or even an existing site that could do with some changes, please do contact us and we would be more than happy to discuss with you your project options.

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