Saturday, February 23, 2013


An award-winning North-east of Scotland golf resort has gone bust - leaving dozens of people out of work and angry members locked out.
The Inchmarlo Golf Centre at Banchory has been placed in provisional liquidation after the owners said they could no longer afford to run the business at a loss. 
But plans for a £100million hotel and homes development at the site could still go ahead.
Owners Frank Burnett and Colin Wilson are understood to be on the verge of striking  deal with a major overseas chain which will bring a five-star hotel to the two-course golf centre and driving range on the outskirts of Banchory. 
However, they told the Press and Journal last night that, after pumping in millions of pounds into the existing golf company - which they bought in 2008 - it had "bled them dry."
Blair Nimmo of KPMG has now been brought in to liquidate Inchmarlo Golf Centre Ltd.
The company operates but does not own the two courses - one of 18 holes and the other of nine holes - and a driving range. It also operates and manages a complex of 40 villas at the Inchmarlo site on behalf of various owners.  
Out of the golf centre's staff of 30, 25 were told yesterday that they no longer had jobs.
Mr Nimmo said: "The golf courses have been local fixtures for the past 20 years and we will take all steps possible to find a new owner.
It is with regret that we have had to make a number of redundancies on appintment but unfortunately there was no other option.
"The company has experienced trading difficulties for some time and has been supported by its main shareholders who have injected significant funds into the business since the acquisition in 2008."
One member of staff said everyone was "stunned" by the sudden arrival of the liquidators on Friday. 
The five remaining employees will assist in office administration and the operation of the villa rental business.
Colin Wilson said: "We are very sad that Inchmarlo Golf Centre has to close, having financially supported it for four years. However, trading has been difficult for some time ande the liabilities of the business are no longer sustainable.
"We have propped it up for some time and pumped in millions of pounds while trying to get the hotel built. Over the past four years, we have had to put a significant amount of money in just to keep it open. It has bled us dry."
The company's interest in the golf courses and golf facilities, which are leased from a third party, are being offered for sale.
The villa rental operation will continue for a short time while a buyer is sought. 
Last year, Frank Burnett Ltd  - another of Mr Burnett and Mr Wilson's companies - won planning permission to build a five-star, 75 bedroom hotel and 80 houses on the land surrounding the existing resort.
They still hope that development will proceed through Frank Burnett Ltd which is not being liquidated.

Members of Inchmarlo Golf Club have been told their memberships could now be worthless.
Members, some of whom may have purchased long-term memberships,  have been told to collect their belongings from the clubhouse on Monday.
In a letter provisional liquidator Blair Nimmo warned that they could lose out.
"I would advise that we are not adopting any contract or arrangements that you may have with the company," he said.
"Please note that any membership fees paid in advance will unfortunately be an unsecured claim in the linqidation.
He added: "Should it be possible to secure a sale of the company assets, it it is possible that the club may re-open.
Frank Burnett said that a lack of memberships was partly to blame for the decline.      



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