Garnant Golf Club 'ran out of cash'

South Wales Guardian: SUNK: AM Rhodri Glyn Thomas wants a full inquiry into the Garnant Golf Club closure. SUNK: AM Rhodri Glyn Thomas wants a full inquiry into the Garnant Golf Club closure.

THE boss of the company which ran Garnant Golf Club has confirmed it has gone into liquidation.

In a statement on the club's website, Steve Williams - managing director of Clay's Golf - said they had made every effort to keep it up and running.

"It is with great regret that we have to inform the membership that Garnant Golf Club Ltd has now effectively gone into liquidation," the statement read.

"I am not going to try and explain myself with the complexity of the operation of the golf club only that we tried all ways to keep the club operational but unfortunately ran out of cash.

"For everyone’s benefit we also pumped a great deal of our own cash into this project, I wish everyone the best for the future and hope that one day you can understand that we were unable to carry this any further."

AM Rhodri Glyn Thomas had earlier said a full inquiry was needed into the closure of the club just weeks after its  £160,000 taxpayer subsidy ended.

Mr Thomas said serious questions need to be answered about the business case for the club and the decision to give away the best part of £200,000 of taxpayers’ money.

The 25-year lease tender put out by Carmarthneshire County Council promised a maximum subsidy of £200,000 for the first five years. The final deal resulted in £160,000 subsidy over two years with rent free of charge until 2018.

When Plaid first raised concerns about the deal in October 2011, the then Deputy Leader of the Council and Garnant County Councillor, Kevin Madge – now Leader of the authority – dismissed Plaid’s concerns and accused his opponents of “clueless electioneering”.

Mr Thomas said such concerns have now been been justified and suggested that taxpayers’ money was not being spent responsibly by the Labour and Independent-run county council.

“There is a worrying picture being painted that taxpayers’ money is not being spent responsibly," said Mr Thomas.

“On the face of it, the closure of the golf club looks like another private project which is being underwritten by public money.

"The decision to provide a substantial public subsidy and six years free rent rests squarely with the leadership of the county council and the leadership must now take responsibility for its actions.

“I would like to see a full inquiry in to the arrangement, and the initial assessment of the deal’s viability which justified such large sums of taxpayers’ money being given away.

"I would also like to know whether a claw back agreement was put in place to protect taxpayers’ money in this scenario.

“The time has come for Carmarthenshire residents to say ‘enough is enough’ to this continuing mismanagement of their money.”

David Jenkins, Chair of the county council's audit committee, is also calling for a full inquiry.

“When this deal was announced in 2011, I remember vividly saying that the only reason the golf course had become unsustainable was due to the poor management by the Labour and Independent County Council," he said.

“Once again, it is the taxpayers of Carmarthenshire who are footing the bill for the highfalutin' ideas of the council leadership."

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