WELL-known North East businessman John Sanderson is to spend up to £8m on a new conference centre, hotel, pub and sports facilities at the site of a North East golf club.
Sanderson, who founded Norstead engineering and developed the George Washington Hotel, has obtained planning permission for the leisure development at Wallsend Golf Club, and will start work later this year.
Sanderson bought the golf club from North Tyneside Council in 2008 to add to his portfolio of North East hospitality businesses.
After taking over the golf club, which is now called Centurion Park, it developed the clubhouse into the Happy Gilmore pub.
Sanderson said: “We are a small leisure company based in the North East, with all of our businesses in the region, but our plan is to gradually expand and this is what we are doing with the developments at Centurion Park.”
The proposals for the site include a 40-bedroom hotel, conference centre, pub, sports injury rehabilitation clinic, six all-weather pitches, three tennis courts, a nine-hole golf course, new squash court and adventure course. Sanderson added: “The sports hall dates back to the 1960s and was built by North Tyneside council.
“Our plans are to redevelop it into a conference centre which will be able to accommodate 500 people.
“We also plan to develop a floodlit golf course with nine par 3 holes, as well as five-a-side football facilities.
“We will also be developing a food-led pub, a hotel and a sports injury clinic.”
STR Enterprises, which was founded by Sanderson in 1996, purchased the Victoria Hotel in Bamburgh, Northumberland the same year.
The family-run business, which Sanderson operates with wife Elizabeth and sons Jason, Christopher and Richard, also owns and operates the Honest Lawyer Hotel in Croxdale, Durham, the Manor House Hotel and Country Club in West Auckland and the Centurion bar at Newcastle Central Station.
A further outlet is the Quayside Exchange in Sunderland, a 300-seater banqueting suite, and STR has recently secured planning permission to develop a 60-bedroom hotel at this location.
The company has total annual revenues of £6m and employs 250 staff.
The new developments will create a further 60 jobs
Sanderson says the adventure course, to be known as Pure Adrenalin, will be the biggest in the country.