Holiday lodges could be built on a wedge of a top East Devon golf course in a bid to bring more sporting tourists to the area.
Proposals for 14 timber-clad units have been unveiled Woodbury Park Hotel and Golf Club, which says they will ‘generate a vital additional income stream’.
Plans submitted to East Devon District Council (EDDC) state popularity of the game is in decline nationally and there is a need for businesses to attract new markets.
Applicant The Club Company Ltd is asking for permission for a change of use to site the 14 holiday lodge ‘caravans’ within the complex’s nine-hole golf course.
A single fairway would be remodelled as part of the bid.
Woodbury Park Hotel and Golf Club currently boasts a four-star hotel, spa, gym, swimming pool, beauty salon and 18-hole and nine-hole golf courses.
In the application, commercial real estate services firm Avision Young tells EDDC: “The golfing sector is under particular pressure with declining membership and participation forcing many out of business.
“Our client is therefore looking at ways to attract golf societies and other groups looking for golfing holidays, and, in order to do this, they wish to invest in new accommodation.”
“The current site is an ideal destination for an extended sporting tourism stay.”
The application adds: “Given the declining popularity of playing golf in England and in order to maintain the business of Woodbury Park Hotel and Golf Club in general, it is necessary to attract golfing markets, such as golf breaks, through the proposed holiday accommodation.
“This will allow the club to attract more golfers, and more visitors to the bars, restaurant, health club and spa to generate a vital additional income stream.”
Avision Young says that, if permitted, the scheme could see tourists visiting other golf destinations in the area, adding: “It is evident from comparing the local golf clubs that Woodbury Park stands out as the premier golfing facility in the catchment area followed by East Devon Golf Club and Exeter Golf and Country Club.
“Woodbury Park and East Devon Golf Club have seven-day full membership fees of over £1,000 and the highest green fees, suggesting that they occupy an upper range position in the local golf market hierarchy.
“The facilities on offer in these clubs reflect the current demand for golfing opportunities. There is a clear gap in the market to develop golf break facilities as there is an increasing number of people playing who are not long-term members and are looking for a one-off holiday or tourist opportunities.”
The application states the remodelling of the affected course hole has been backed by Sport England.