The world’s most prestigious tennis tournament has made a massive £65 million offer to a local golf club which, if accepted, will result in a windfall for all its members. Wimbledon has plans for a huge expansion and sees nearby Wimbledon Park Golf Club, which offers 73 acres of land, as the perfect vehicle to achieve this.
The offer is, according to the Daily Mail, thought to be a final offer and about £15 million higher than a former one, and, if accepted, the club’s members would each receive about £80,000 after tax as it is a private members’ golf club. The large increase in the offer is believed to be down to the club wanting its more recent new members to receive the same sort of windfall as their more experienced peers.
Members, of which there are about 750, include Piers Morgan and Ant and Dec, according to the newspaper. ‘This may prove to be the most significant move in the iconic tennis event’s history,’ it states. ‘For many years Wimbledon has explored ways of gaining much needed extra space, with the particular desire of wishing to stage its qualifying event on site, rather than at Roehampton three miles away.’
Members of the golf club have received an official letter from All England chairman Philip Brook, offering the terms in the hope of persuading them to accept the deal. ‘A major complication has been the golf club’s constitution,’ it added. ‘This states that only members of more than 10 years’ standing would be compensated in the event of a bid to release the land.
‘The golf club’s board brought in a raft of external legal and financial consultants to look at the complex process, and they have been working hard in recent months. ‘The result is an increased offer from their neighbours from £50 million to £65 million, with all members being treated equally – highly important as 40 per cent of the membership are now of less than 10 years’ standing.
‘The Wimbledon Park board is not making any recommendations about how the membership should act.’ It is likely that the golf club’s members will be offered two votes this year: the first will be on whether they should change the establishment’s articles of association to permit a ballot on the sale, which would require a 75 per cent majority, and the second on whether to accept the All England Club’s offer.
Brook states that using the northern part of the golf course would allow for a ‘greatly enhanced arrival operation’ during The Championships. The new offer also allows for nine holes of the course at the southern end of the site to remain in use – although one year after agreement this would be on a rolling notice of 12 months to quit. It is thought this is partly because there are a number of protected trees in that location.
‘The golf club will, in any event, fall under the All England Club’s control in 2041 after they bought the leasehold from Merton Council in 1993,’ added the paper. Pitch Care
Pix: A section of Wimbledon Park