Garnant Golf Club liquidation: Call for inquiry by Rhodri Glyn Thomas

The members are now looking into taking over the club themselves

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An inquiry must be held over why a golf club which received £200,000 of public money has gone into liquidation, an assembly member has said.

Garnant Golf Club, in the Amman Valley, was given the money in subsidies over two years from Carmarthenshire council because it was making a loss.

The council has said it was not aware Clays Golf, which runs the club, was in such financial trouble.

The golf club said it "ran out of cash" and was unable to carry on.

Rhodri Glyn Thomas, Plaid Cymru AM for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, told BBC Radio Wales the money had been given to Garnant Golf Club since 2011.

The club, built at a cost of just under £1m on a former opencast mine, received £80,000 a year and was rent free.

'Irresponsible actions'

"We have to ask who authorised this expenditure, why, what conditions were placed upon this company and why the council wasn't aware of the fact this company was in financial difficulties," Mr Thomas said.

Start Quote

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”

End Quote Steve Williams Managing director

"This is public money and there is a responsibility on the local authority to use that money responsibly, but as well as that, the local people have now lost this facility that was very important to the Amman valley."

He added: "We have to ask if that was because of the irresponsible actions of the local authority."

A statement published on the club's website on Wednesday by managing director Steve Williams said: "It is with great regret that we have to inform the membership that Garnant Golf Club Ltd has now effectively gone into liquidation.

"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."

Carmarthenshire council confirmed the company had received the full £200,000 phased subsidy.

A spokesperson said the council had not been able to contact Clays Golf to find out what had happened.

Regular meetings were held with managers at the club but the council said it had not been made aware of the seriousness of the situation or the plan to file for liquidation.

The council said it wanted to reassure the half a dozen staff at the club that it would continue to run the facility for the next fortnight while discussions were held with club members about the possibility of them taking it over.

In 2004 it was named best new course of the year by the Golf Union of Wales.

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