Golf drives Clubhaus.

The Millennium dome brought no joy last month for Robert Bourne, chairman of the British golf club operator Clubhaus, when the government turned down his #155m bid to turn the site into a hi-tech village.

The 50-year old leisure facility director and self-styled property ‘regenerator’ had gathered weighty allies, including Imperial College and the Open University, behind his Legacy consortium plans for the failing pleasure palace.

A PricewaterhouseCoopers study estimated the chartered accountant’s dream to turn the dome into a new economy campus could have created up to 14,000 jobs in East London.

‘The government has two clear choices’, Bourne said. ‘A leisure scheme or providing accommodation for an industry that is worth billions.’

The government’s decision to hand over the Dome to Japanese bank Nomura for #50m less than Bourne’s bid has lead to reports of a National Audit Office investigation.

Next Thursday Bourne will have to look to Clubhaus’ interim results for solace.

Clubhaus, which formed in 1991 to capitalise on the growing European golf market and floated on LSE in 1995, runs golf clubs and health centres in the UK and Europe.

Fellow chartered accountant and managing director Charlie Parker, has resumed his role as FD after William Scott departed in May for Coffee Republic after only four months. Bourne and Parker are now looking for a replacement FD.

In May, Clubhaus opened its Mapledurham Golf and Health club, as part of its drive into the health club market, bringing the number to five in the UK with a sixth due this summer.

The two accountants have further plans for four more centres in the UK and three in Europ sites, and are looking to expand club membership at the beginning of the year from 26,000 members up to 30,000.

Earlier this year Parker said the group was ‘beginning to harvest the fruit of a good capital expenditure programme and good management system.’

Annual results to the end of December showed a 32% increase in pre-tax profits to #8.6m on turnover of #3.7m.

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