SILSDEN Golf Club has been saved after members voted unanimously to clear £500,000 of debt by selling all its assets and then leasing back 60 acres of greens from its new owner.

Some 90 of the 130 members attended an extraordinary general meeting on Tuesday night and had to chose between the options of outright sale and closure or selling everything and taking a five-year lease on the greens, the members’ bar with locker room and greenkeeper’s store.

And club secretary Tom Starkie said there was shared relief at the outcome.

“Members decided emphatically to save the club and there was a great sense of relief that at last it’s all over.

“Now we can all get on with enjoying golf without the burden of responsibility - which has made the past few years into quite a bumpy ride at times.”

Mr Starkie said he could not go into much detail on the new deal as contracts still had to be signed.

But he explained how the club would now be free from the stress of carrying the weight of huge debt.

He said when the club house was built in 2001 with the aid of a £670,000 National Lottery grant the club had to part fund it at a cost of some £200,000.

“And basically there has never been a year since when we’ve made money.

“This has resulted in a mortgage of about half a million pounds which consolidated all the club’s other debts and thanks to last night’s decision that will now be cleared.

“The new large clubhouse and function room will become the property of the new owner who will be able to develop it as he wishes.

“We now have light at the end of the tunnel – the next five years of golf in Silsden are guaranteed and we hope to be able to guarantee the next one hundred years.

“We will just be continuing as a club after something of a new start and will encourage new members to join.

“And at last we can all get on with playing golf and not worry anymore,” Mr Starkie said.

Ward councillor for Silsden Adrian Naylor said the decision to save the 103-year-old club was good news for the town.

“I’m very glad the golf club will continue to provide a valuable large green recreational space for local people.

“It is a fantastic asset to the town would have been sorely missed,” Cllr Naylor said.