Estate closure causing a dent in Angus economy

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THE CLOSURE of the Letham Grange golf and country estate has dealt a shattering blow to the already fragile Angus economy.

A booking which could have brought in around £10,000 has been lost and swiftly followed by others after the closure of the hotel and resort just last month.

Letham Grange had become popular with golfers from Stavanger in Norway and a party of 20 were forced to cancel their plans to visit Angus following the closure.

It has now emerged that the trip would have been worth around £10,000 to the Angus economy.

Now more Norwegian golfers are cancelling their plans to visit the county.

One golfer said that he had been planning to return to Letham Grange later this summer with a group of friends but had only learned of the closure by looking on the Letham Grange website.

He continued to say that he was sorry to see the resort had closed as he had made previous trips to Angus with both his wife and his golfing friends.

Elma McMenemy, a tourism consultant for VisitScotland, helped the golfer to find alternate arrangements in Aberdeenshire, she said: “Based on both research published by VisitScotland on the golf visitor market and my own knowledge of Norwegian visitors and of this booking, I would say that in total, including all expenditure in addition to their package, particularly drink, this change of venue will have lost around £10,000 to the Angus economy.

“Not a huge amount in the grand scheme of things, but this is just one booking for one group for a two-night weekend.”

Letham Grange closed in January after a new legal battle over the ownership of the resort.

Taiwanese businessman Dong Guang (Peter) Liu sought to take possession of Letham Grange claiming that the resort was his. Legal proceedings then went through all the levels of the Scottish courts system before reaching the House of Lords.

Following the outcome of the original liquidators’ litigation with Mr Liu in 2009, the Letham Grange Management Company Ltd., was appointed to run the hotel.

They also invested £300,000 to modernise the facility.

Now there is further litigation and the directors of the company have failed to secure the investment needed to keep trading.

Meanwhile, a separate group of Norwegian golfers, also from Stavanger, have offered to lend their support to help save the course.

Although the organiser of the trip, Ole Grimsmo (43), has not yet heard from the owners of the resort as to whether his party’s £400 deposit will be returned he said that the group would still like to play on the course.

Cancelling their entire trip is not an option as they have already booked other aspects and a cancellation could cost them thousands of pounds.

Mr Grimsmo said that they have even considered staying elsewhere but travelling to Letham Grange to play there.

He added that he would be willing to help fund any efforts to keep the course going and he would be keen to give his backing to plans from the Letham Grange Golf Club committee to keep the course operational.

Mr Grimsmo and his group have spoken very highly of the venue to other golfers from Stavanger over the years which has contributed to additional bookings to the resort.