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Troubled golf course has new buyer

DUBBY HENRY
Last updated 09:25 15/01/2014

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A private buyer is waiting in the wings to purchase the Papakura Golf Course.

The sale of the Opaheke land at 29 Bellfield Rd is expected to go through before the end of the month.

Councillor Calum Penrose says the mystery buyer is a well-known businessman who has been knighted for philanthropic services.

"He's a very, very good operator and I trust him," he says.

Partially developing the land for housing while reinstating the rest as a nine-hole golf course would be the best outcome, Mr Penrose reckons.

"It would be a good deal for the people of Papakura . . . it's a win-win."

He will be meeting the prospective buyer and fellow councillors Sir John Walker and Bill Cashmore to discuss the options.

Current owners Paul Webb and Andrew Tauber of Score Trustees tried to develop the land for housing but were thwarted by a 999-year restriction which says it can be used only as a golf course.

That restriction, known as an encumbrance, was put in place by the former Papakura District Council when it sold the course in 1993.

In 2009 the district council decided to modify the encumbrance to allow Score Trustees to build on the course but a community backlash forced the council to back down.

The troubled course was abandoned by its operator in 2011 and the fairways have been closed ever since.

It is now overgrown and unused except by dog-walkers and vandals.

Auckland Council has the power to lift the encumbrance if a majority of councillors vote in favour.

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- Papakura Courier

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