Plans to expand golf club facilities

Sandy Jones the Chief Exec. of PGA joined the Downes family to open their new Oak Royal Golf and Country Club in Withnell. L-R: Charlie Downes, Charles Downes, Sandy Jones, Caroline Downes, Kath Downes, and Fabian Towers.

Sandy Jones the Chief Exec. of PGA joined the Downes family to open their new Oak Royal Golf and Country Club in Withnell. L-R: Charlie Downes, Charles Downes, Sandy Jones, Caroline Downes, Kath Downes, and Fabian Towers.

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A Chorley family have submitted plans to build hotel-style accommodation at their popular golf club.

The Oak Royal Golf and Country Club on Bury Lane, Withnell, opened in 2007 after the Downes family converted the old farm into a golf course with a club house, bar, restaurant and a function room.

Now, after building three holiday cottages at the site this year, they’ve submitted new plans for a 26-bedroom accommodation unit, as an extension of the existing club house.

Speaking on behalf of the family, agent John Welbank of Rural Futures (North West) Ltd said: “The business has grown rapidly in its four years of operations and there is growing demand from both local residents and leisure tourists from outside the area.

“The business already has a number of ties with national organisations which provide regular leads to travelling golfers.

“The issue facing the Oak Royal Golf Club is that this market demands on-site accommodation, and although the new holiday units partly meet this need, most golf tourists usually want short-stay, fully-serviced accommodation.

“Through the club house the services such as the restaurant and bar are already on-site, so all that’s required now are the bedroom facilities.

“The Downes family wish to create dedicated hotel-style accommodation.”

He said the plans should create a 16 jobs, on top of the 16 existing staff members, and should also help the local economy.

“The Chorley area has limited tourism accommodation,” Mr Welbank said. “This new facility will raise the profile of this area by bringing in new visitors.”

He added: “The accommodation units will not significantly increase the number of visitors to the site though, as the golf course is already operating at peak capacity during the summer periods.

“But it will allow for existing customers to stay on-site rather than travel elsewhere for accommodation.”