Allestree Hall Sale Falls Through

Derby City Council have advised the deal to sell Allestree Hall to a wedding developer has fallen through

The collapse of the deal leaves the historic Allestree Hall and Allestree Park golf course neglected and at risk

There are several organisations still interested in taking the combination of Allestree Hall and Harry S Colt golf course to operate them as a combined commercial enterprise, saving both historically important assets

This provides the opportunity for Derby City Council to engage with these organisations to discuss community, educational and non-golf sporting facilities that could be incorporated into any new plans

All the goals of rewilding can be achieved by operating the golf course in an environmentally sound manner

This would provide an important sporting and historic venue in the city for use by all its citizens

We need accessible, natural open spaces for enjoyment by all and reinstating the golf course could provide this

This is especially important since the recent closure of Pewitt golf course in Ilkeston and the news that Sheffield City Trust who run Sinfin and Tapton golf courses are planning to withdraw from their lease in 2024

Over a year ago a motion was passed by the Full Council in favour of reopening negotiations to remarket the hall and golf course as the original project was over two years overdue. The will of full council can now be followed

Allestree Park golf course has a unique history. It was created in 1929 by the world-famous golf course architect Harry S Colt.

We have been able to recreate the original 18 hole layout from contemporary press reports as it was a famous venue used for many important golf events.

The history and provenance of the golf course has been academically reviewed and validated by Historic England in the report at the link below, which states they intended to register it as the first Grade II listed golf course in England. 

Link to Historic England report

Only a small amount of additional research, that could be undertaken by the council, is preventing the listing of the course

It is hoped that this work will be undertaken as a matter of urgency to provide the city with an important sporting facility with a unique history not previously seen in any other golf course in the United Kingdom.

This will provide the city with a tourist attraction of global interest that promotes an accessible sport to all generations.

It is ideally located in a beautiful setting within the Derwent Valley World Heritage site. It was created by the world’s greatest golf course designer. This could be a major asset to the city and its tourism goals.

Council meeting

Full Council of 51 members passed a motion by large majority to open negotiations and find a private operator for the golf course as they fully appreciate the importance of this historic venue to the City of Derby. 

The Tory minority cabinet of nine councillors provided inaccurate information to block the motion democratically voted by Full Council to reopen negotiations to find a private operator. 

The course has been closed despite:

  • An organisation run by a former Ryder Cup captain offering to provide free golf to all under 18s in the City.
  • Two other organisations proposing free coaching to under 18s
  • A public consultation where the majority responding said that the golf course was important and should remain open
  • An equality impact assessment that said it would be detrimental to protected groups if it were to close
  • A majority vote at a Full Council meeting in July passing a motion to open negotiations with interested parties.

Please see our Fact Check that details the inaccurate information presented by the Tory minority cabinet to justify their decision to reject the democratically approved will of the 51 members of Full Council.

Listen to Andy’s Interview on Radio Derby, click play below

Ryder Cup Derby Connections

Research validated by Historic England, whilst trying to save Allestree Park golf course from destruction, has revealed some interesting links between the golf course and the world’s greatest team sporting event The Ryder Cup.

Around 500 million people in 183 countries will watch the coverage over the next few days as the USA and Europe fight it out in a team golfing event.

Padraig Harrington Captain of the European team has commissioned an amazing inspirational video called “Make it Count” that is going viral inside and outside of the world of golf.

There have only been 164 players who have represented Europe since the competition started in 1929. 

To put that into context 5,780 people have climbed Everest, 570 people have been in space, yet only 164 have represented their country in this battle of greats!

Each player has been allocated a number denoting the chronological position of their appearance in the competition.  The current 12 players stand on the shoulders of the giants that went before them.

Number 45 in the list is a gentleman called John Fallon, who started his golfing career at The Derbyshire Golf Club (Allestree Golf Club). 


The Ian Woosnam Golf Academy declare interest in operating Allestree Golf Course and will provide free golf to all Under 18’s in the City of Derby

The Ian Woosnam Golf Academy are committed to providing free golf to 50,000+ Under 18’s in the City of Derby, alongside very attractive season ticket/pay & play rates.

Their proposal will be at zero cost to Derby City Council, saving the £32,000 per year that is currently being spent from public funds to maintain the abandoned course as parkland.

Ian Woosnam said, “I am really excited at the prospect of reviving this wonderful golf course, created by one of the greatest designers of all time, to provide affordable quality golf for the residents of Derby and beyond”

Tony Minshall, managing director of parent company RM Estates Ltd, and a former European Tour player, said: “Our company policy is to make each of our courses a course for all. Ian actively wants young people to take up the game and try to emulate what he has achieved.”

Andy Picken, leader of the Save Allestree Golf Course campaign, said “We hope that Derby City Council see the potential of this offer for the people of Derby and consider re-opening the course.  Ian Woosnam is a global golfing superstar, who is prepared to make Derby the first city in the Midlands to offer free golf for all Under 18’s.  Having one of his golf academies in Derby would have a positive impact on tourism with golfers visiting from far and wide to play this wonderful historic course”

We have helped them discover a Picasso and without valuing it, Derby City Council have left it out in the rain to die!

The Conservative led Derby City Council is disposing of an asset described by a renowned golf architect & historian as “priceless” without any public scrutiny over the decision to do so.

This asset is owned by the people of Derby, not the politicians or council officers.  We have a right to be involved in decisions affecting its future.  The council have taken the decision to close it as a default position resulting from their incompetent process to find a private operator.

There are parties that have made proposals to operate the course fully in line with the requirements of the original process, yet DCC have rejected them.

Newsletter includes:

There is a fully compliant and capable bidding group ready to take over running of the golf course immediately and operate it as a Community Interest project benefiting the people of Derby

Failure to run a fair bidding process as Derby City Council did not provide the £32k to bidders they are spending every year to maintain the abandoned park

Two bidders met all criteria set by Derby City Council in the original bidding process but were rejected

Inconsistencies in the 2021/22 Council Tax Budget claiming inaccurate savings through closing the golf course

No collective Council Cabinet decision to ratify closure of the course following the Expressions of Interest process – It is like closing the football pitches on The Racecourse without giving it due consideration

Several inputs in 2019 report to Council Cabinet leading to the decision to close the course are flawed

Figures declared in 2019 report to Council Cabinet and the Expressions of Interest document were estimated

The advertising of the Hall sale and operation of the golf course did not focus upon the golfing industry

Flawed DCC golfing pricing structures.  Derby City Council slashed prices in 2018/19 resulting in the losses claimed as the reason to close the course

Failures to obtain best value consideration of a DCC asset that is being destroyed

The Hall sale results in destruction of facilities required to operate the golf course

The Equality Impact Assessment is wholly inadequate and fails to

The detailed outcome of the Public Consultation has not been made published

DCC information being improperly disclosed to outside groups

Did Derby City Council “do the right thing for Derby” by committing £32,000 per year to maintain Allestree Golf Course as parkland when they did not have to?

One bidder met all requirements set by Derby City Council and could have been awarded a lease to operate the course at no cost to the Council, saving £32,000 per year that could be used to pay for worthwhile projects in the city. 

Click to find out more


Just one thing – Put operation of the course out to tender again

Reopen the golf course to profit from the post lockdown golf boom and undertake a tender process, marketed through appropriate industry channels, where the narrative of this important historic golf course is made available to bidders.

We have no commercial interest in operating the course, we are just a group of golf enthusiasts who caught the bug by playing at Allestree. 

We have  a PGA Professional in our group and can provide support to Derby City Council to find a suitable partner who will operate it effectively.

Over 25,000 people have signed the petition to save this wonderful Harry S Colt designed golf course.  We just want to ensure it is available for future generations and not lost forever.

View Petition

View Open Letter to Derby City Councillors

Why is the history important?

Allestree Park Golf Course was designed in 1929/30 by Harry S Colt, one of the greatest golf course designers of all time. 

Colt designed courses are host to the most prestigious golf tournament in the world The Open Championship. He participated in the design or redesign of over 300 golf courses in all six inhabited continents, including those at Wentworth Club, Sunningdale, Muirfield, Royal Portrush, and Royal Liverpool.

With his partner Crump, they designed Pine Valley which is voted as the best course in the world.   Allestree Park Golf Course was one of the first where Colt implemented the Country Club concept, which transcended the world.

Allestree park is one of only three of his courses in the world available to the public for anyone to play.  We have one in Derby, but it has been closed by Derby City Council.

The impact of the course on the history of the local area is arguably as important as the Grade II* listed Allestree Hall, Derby City Council have discarded it.

Click here to find out more about Harry S Colt and the history of Allestree Park Golf Course

How did Derby City Council market the course for tender in 2019?

This history has tremendous commercial value to anyone bidding to operate the course and it has been ignored in the original Derby City Council Expression of Interest process.  There is no mention of this rich history in any documents issued by Derby City Council and the course was not marketed through any appropriate channels in the golfing industry. 

Click here to find view the documents issued by Derby City Council for the original tender process

Watch our drone footage of the course