Drayton Leisure golf club driven to closure

Nicholas Turner and his wife Lesley
Nicholas Turner and his wife Lesley

Drayton Leisure Golf Club is to close with the land made available for housing, the Banbury Guardian has learned.

The Warwick Road club and adjacent campsite sits on land owned by Trinity College, 
Oxford, and former Banbury Mayor Nicholas Turner – who runs the club – confirmed on Tuesday that he has returned the lease to the college as the club is no longer financially viable.

In the latest draft of Cherwell District Council’s local plan, which was recently adjusted to meet increasing government housing targets, the site appears as land available for potential housing development.

Mr Turner confirmed his family will, however, continue to lease their 370-acre farm and farmhouse from the college for the time being.

Mr Turner said: “Cherwell District Council has just gone out to public consultation with a new local plan and if you study it you will see the golf course has been incorporated into it for housing, along with another field up the road.

“My landlord, Trinity College, has put it in for housing and you can’t blame them for doing so.

“People aren’t playing golf, every golf club across the country is struggling.

“So we decided it’s time to close Drayton Leisure down and we’ll be operating until the end of October.

“It’s been a labour of love for the past 22 years.

“My father owned it and now myself and my wife and son are all involved in it, but it’s purely one of those business decisions you’ve got to make at some stage which are very, very hard.

“It has been 22 years of my life and we’ve built it up from nothing.

“There’s a lot of events we’ve built up over the year sand we’ve got some very happy memories but unfortunately happy memories don’t pay bills.”

Mr Turner said the decision was reached after mutual discussions with Trinity College and he praised the landlords whom he said had been ‘very fair and open’ throughout the process.

Kevin Knott, estates bursar for Trinity College, said: “We were talking to Nicholas Turner about it and he decided the driving range wasn’t making money.

“The college is a registered charity and the more we can generate in terms of income, the more we can use for educational purposes.