WENTWORTH CLUB UPDATE…Status Report December 15

After the successful meeting of December 4th, the WRA sub committee is due to meet the Club Owners and Management on Thursday 17th December. The main results of the dialogue of the December 4th meeting are as follows:

Meeting between the Wentworth Club Owners & Management and the Club Members’ and Estate Residents’ Representatives (December 4th, 2015)


  • Mr Songhua Ni (Mr Ni), Vice Chairman
  • Mr Stephen Gibson (SG), Chief Executive
  • Mr Michael Fleming (MF), Club Captain
  • Dr Eric Leon (EL), WRA Chairman
  • Mr John Rourke CBE (JR), Representative of Club Vice-Captain
  • Ms Kathy Lunn (KL), Senior Executive Assistant (transcriber)

The meeting was very constructive and significant progress was made. On behalf of the Reignwood Group Mr Ni expressed his desire to see the residents form the bedrock of the Club Membership. Although the purpose of this initial meeting was not to negotiate terms Mr Ni agreed to consider a number of significant adjustments to the current membership proposals, in particular:

  • Debenture:
  •       – Full buy back guarantee for first five years,
  •       – Installment payment over up to 5 years for some Members who are unable to pay up front,
  • Free social membership for residents (subject to vetting)

A number of actions were agreed (in order of agreement in the meeting):

  • 1. A panel of members will be set up to consider and propose to the Club an instalment payment plan for certain categories of membership.
  • 2. Members to be canvassed for their opinion on the best designer for the West, East and Edinburgh courses. Suggestions to be considered by the representative group at its next meeting.
  • 3. Mr Ni to chair a meeting of this representative group every month.
  • 4. MF, EL, JR to consult with their respective groups of members in the meantime to propose what other matters should be considered at the next meeting of this group.
  • 5. SG to send an email to members reporting of a successful meeting, that more members’ opinions will be heard, that the EGM on Sunday 6th December is postponed, and that this representative group will reconvene again asap.
  • 6. The next meeting of this representative group to be held on 17th December (in the afternoon) at Wentworth Club. 7. MF, EL, JR to propose additional people to join the representative group as appropriate.
  • 8. Mr Ni, SG to consider the special resolutions submitted by certain members.
  • 9. Mr Ni requested that no further negative comments about the Club should be made in the press and to encourage others to do the same. All participants agreed to endeavour to do so.



The stunning news announced by Stephen Gibson, the Wentworth Club CEO, October’s AGM has raised many issues and created considerable uncertainties in the mind of both residents and Club members.

For those who missed the announcement, press reports on this can be accessed at or on other newspaper websites.

For those who are Club members a copy of the Club’s Q&A sheet can be accessed on the Club website in the members area. For those who are not Club members a private Wentworth Estate resident briefing provided by the Club can be accessed in the Key Documents section (logging in here required to download).

At the SGM we will be discussing the possible consequences for residents.

These are some of the concerns already voiced:

  • Impact on property value: At the AGM Nicky Morris of Buckinghams expressed concerns about how it may affect property prices on the Estate.
  • Rights of access over the main island of the Estate: could resident access to all parts of the Estate be restricted in any way?
  • Individual property rights, prescriptive rights of way over Club land and other general Estate covenants: are they be affected?
  • Club events such as the PGA tournament: Are any changes planned?

For residents that are Club members, other questions are also raised e.g.:

  • What are the rights of existing members: can members who do not make ‘expressions of interest’ in either of the two categories of membership legitimately have their membership terminated?
  • What will be the impact of having only two main Club membership categories, i.e.: Full Family and Estate Resident, on the Wentworth Club community?
  • Are other membership categories being considered, e.g.: single, tennis/spa only and/or overseas?
  • What are the exact terms of the ‘debenture’? Is it truly a debenture or an additional joining fee?
  • What does Estate Resident membership, purporting to be attached to a property, actually mean? Does it confer membership rights registerable with the property, or not?
  • The Club promised to send a copy of their QCs Opinion to all Club members but this has not happened so far. We were told yesterday this will not now be circulated to all members, although having seen it, the scope is limited. What is the impact of this?

We are pressing for greater clarity around these and other important issues.

If you have not already done so, please let us know through by e-mail to, if you will coming to the SGM. IT IS IMPORTANT THAT ALL RESIDENTS REGISTER ON THE WEBSITE IN ORDER TO ACCESS THE PRIVATE SECTIONS.


In the meantime, the following newsletter has been issued by Wet Feet, a collaboration of some of our Estate residents and Club members:


Wet Feet eNewsletter – 17th November 2015

It never rains on your neighbours without getting your feet wet (Chinese Proverb).

Save our Wentworth for the Nation”

Dear Fellow Member,


First of all, I apologise that the previous message from this new account was anonymous. We were at the very first stage of our formation, have come a long way in the last few days, and are happy to be fully transparent to the membership. With that in mind, I have put my name to the bottom of this email so that you are all aware that I am involved – along with very many other members and residents – in attempting to coordinate efforts to protect the Club that is so close to our hearts.


As you will see from this Newsletter, we are progressing at a rate of knots, but need help from all of you on many of the areas outlined below. Most importantly, however, I urge all of us to be clear that in order for our campaign to succeed we need to have a totally united front against Reignwood’s plans for destroying the Wentworth community. We fear that every trick in the book to divide and conquer the membership may be tried but believe that if we are united, dedicated and passionate in our approach, utilizing all the leverage we have as members of this great Club and/or residents on the Estate as well as the broader public concern, we can, and will, succeed. To that end, we are liaising closely with key representatives of the directly affected groups. We welcome all and any suggestions for these efforts.


Chinese Embassy


We thank all of you who took the effort to write to the Embassy of the PRC. There were some truly evocative and inspiring letters that we know have influenced this respected Embassy to contact Reignwood and hopefully encourage them to avoid becoming a negative case study for building positive China-UK relations and risking the future of a great British institution.


Dates for your diary


Please note the following dates for your diary. Most importantly, for residents, I draw your attention to the WRA’s SGM at Royal Holloway this Friday. Please come and show your support. This is our first big opportunity to demonstrate our co-ordinated efforts to Reignwood after they informed all members that they were being evicted at the end of the 2016/17 year.

  1. Wentworth Residents’ Association (Special General Meeting): 19.00, 20th November, in the Picture Gallery at Royal Holloway.
  2. Wentworth Tennis & Health (Annual General Meeting): 19.00, 24th November, in Wentworth Club’s Ballroom.
  3. Wentworth Members (Extraordinary General Meeting): 19.00, 6th December (to be confirmed) in Wentworth Club’s Ballroom.


Message from the Club Captain


As some of you will be aware, Michael Fleming has been obstructed from sending unencumbered messages to members through official channels and he has therefore asked to communicate via this group. He says:


Dear Member, It’s now four weeks since the shock waves  of the new ‘debenture’ joining scheme were felt. Those of you attending the AGM will know that there were legal and financial questions raised. If any non-resident members would like to support us in being able to follow up these issues, then email Roger Pennington on and write the word ‘Support’. He will then contact you with further details. At the AGM, it was agreed to call an EGM which has now been set provisionally for 19.00 on 6th December in the Club’s Ballroom. Please attend if at all possible. I would like to get all members to higher ground, wherever that may be, before the tsunami hits in 2017. Thank you for your kindness and support. Best, Michael.


Website and social media accounts


The Wet Feet website is now live! Please visit This is just a start and we will be adding pages and new content regularly. We plan to dedicate one section to messages and comments from members, so if you would like to publish something on the site, please do send via this email. Please mark any comment “for publication” and kindly be respectful to enable us to use it on the site. Please note that details of our Facebook and Twitter accounts will be made available on the site, once live and active.


Our slogan and campaign materials


You will note from our materials that we have opted for a fairly simple slogan: “Save our Wentworth for the Nation”. The aim of this is to be fully inclusive of all Wentworth members and residents and, importantly, reflect the fact that we are a reasonable group of people, seeking a fair solution to this potential catastrophe. We support Reignwood’s strategy to progress the Club but it needs to be inclusive rather than exclusive of the vast majority of the current membership.


In the next few days, we will be producing outdoor posters, indoor posters and pin badges which we would like you to display prominently, where you can, especially if you live on and around the Estate. We are expecting the first batch of posters will be made available at the SGM on Friday. Please do contact us if you would like any of these materials although please be prepared to collect the materials whilst stocks last! Put them on your front gate, inside your favourite coffee shop, attach them to your dog – whatever it takes for the neighbourhood to be covered with our ‘Save Wentworth’ campaign.

Many thanks for your attention and support and please do not hesitate to get in touch.



Nigel Moss.



Station Approach

Update: 1 Station Approach

1 Station Approach in Virginia Water is known to many as the old Barclays Bank. Many were saddened when the bank closed its branch last year.

Late last year, planning applications, made by Sainsbury’s in connection with their proposal to take over the lease, were withdrawn in the face of local opposition, with particular concerns about plans to erect a semi-industrial air-conditioning plant outside the building. The building is an original Tarrant built around 1923, and is of significant local architectural and historic interest in the village of Virginia Water, justifying its status as locally listed building. It occupies an important and prominent corner position at one of the main entrances to the Wentworth Estate.

New plans (but little changed from last year’s) were submitted to Runnymede Borough Council this summer and the WRA has submitted a letter of objection to these. There have been over 1000 signatures to a local petition. Notwithstanding this, the case officer recommended that the planning applications be approved.

Last night’s planning committee meeting was well attended by Estate and other local residents and local businesses and members of our WRA committee: nevertheless, the planning committee approved the planning permissions.

A big thank you to all of those of you who attended last night. It is important for all of us to make our views known on planning issues as there are local councillors who do not hold our heritage as dear as we may.

And all is not yet lost. There are covenants on the building which were not considered in relation to the planning application and any development application will also have to be considered by the Wentworth Estate Roads Committee. Watch this space….


DERA Development and more….