Maldon: Warren Golf Club sold by administrators for more than �4m

A CONSORTIUM of local businessmen, including insurance industry entrepreneur Neil Utley, has purchased the Warren Golf Club near Maldon, which went in administration earlier this year.

The deal, valued at more than �4million, includes the Warren’s main 18-hole course, the nine-hole Bunsay Downs and Badgers pay-and-play courses and the Herbage Park holiday venue.

Durham Fruit Farms Ltd, which operated the golf courses, and Warren Lifestyle Ltd, which traded as Herbage Park, both entered administration on February 15.

The administrators, from restructuring and insolvency specialist FRP Advisory, said the businesses had been suffering from cash-flow problems as a result of difficult trading conditions. However, they continued to operate the facilities while a buyer was sought.

The businesses were marketed on behalf of the administrators by specialist leisure sector agent Christie & Co, which invited offers in excess of �4m. The purchase price has not been disclosed but Christie & Co says a number of bids in excess of the guide price were received.

“This unique and multi-faceted offering made a tremendous impact when we first brought it to market,” said Anthony Jenkins, associate director at Christie & Co.

“The initial excitement at the instruction was more than matched by the significant — and swift — interest we received. We’re delighted to have concluded a deal with the consortium led by Neil Utley which secures this superb leisure business.”

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The four sites total more than 300 acres, with the main par 70 golf course measuring 6,263 yards and the holiday park containing 30 holiday lodges.

Neil Utley, currently chairman of Hastings Direct and a serial entrepreneur in the insurance sector over 20 years, was placed 462nd in this year’s Sunday Times Rich List with estimated wealth of �160m.