British MP Philip Hammond steps in over golf fees

January 12, 2016 12:00 pm

 

MP Philip Hammond described Reignwood’s plans as “very disappointing.” Photo / Mark Mitchell

British MP Philip Hammond has intervened in a longstanding row
between the Chinese owners of Wentworth golf club and its members
following a row over price hikes.
Long-time members of the
Surrey-based golf club have accused the new Chinese owners of using an
eye-watering fee hike to get rid of them and turn the club into a
preserve of the global ultra-rich.
The dispute has caused
diplomatic ripples, with interventions from the Foreign Secretary, who
represents the local area in Parliament, and from the Chinese embassy in
London.
The Beijing-based property and investment firm Reignwood Group bought Wentworth in 2014.
They were looking to raise 100,000 ($222,500) from members to remain part of the club by doubling maximum annual fees to 16,000.
Hammond,
writing in his capacity as the area’s MP, described Reignwood’s plans
as “very disappointing” in a letter to a club member. He has met twice
with disgruntled Wentworth members and once with Reignwood
representatives to discuss the dispute.
The club says it plans to
invest an initial 20 million to improve facilities as it tries to make
Wentworth “the world’s premier private golf and country club”.

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