Following a meeting of Wentworth members on Friday a letter from Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond MP was made public. Mr Hammond is also the local MP for Runnymede and Weybridge which covers Wentworth. Referring to Wentworth’s new owners decision to greatly increase the membership fees and introduce a debenture system he calls this “very disappointing behaviour”. He says he will be seeking a meeting with representatives of Reignwood Group, the Chinese conglomerate who bought Wentworth Club for £135 million last year. He states that discussions will focus on any planning intentions for the club and stress the need to engage and maintain good relations with the local community if they wish to seek planning permissions in the future.
Another thing which has angered current Wentworth members is the failure to lower the Chinese flag outside of the clubhouse to half mast in respect of the Paris terror attacks. The flag of St George has been lowered.
Mr Hammond’s diplomatic skills will be needed in any meetings with representatives from Reignwood, but also in conveying to the current membership the limits on what can be done. It is after all Reignwood’s private property to do with as they wish, although within its walls a whole community is about to be broken apart and a long history wiped away.