THE FIRM running Basildon Golf Course is facing financial problems two years after taking control from Basildon Council – putting a promised £1million revamp under threat.

Basildon Golf Centre Ltd’s latest published accounts cast doubt on its “ability to continue” running as a business.

The firm maintains, however, that it can turn things around and see the project through despite the recession and an ongoing legal battle over its plans.

The business – a self-contained limited company set up by Jack Barker Ltd which manages a number of golf courses for councils across the country – was already behind with its rent on the 99-year lease.

It should have paid £60,000 rent in the first three years, but council bosses have let this go unpaid, and have since allowed it to have a further three years rent free.

In July the council also agreed to a long-term £60,000 loan to the company to tide it over.

The company has also twice taken out bank loans against the lease.

Under plans approved by the council in September 2007, the firm was set to finance the revamp by allowing up to £140,000 tonnes of building spoil to be dumped on the course, which would then be used in the redevelopment.

Developers dumping their spoil would have paid to deposit each load, giving the business a large income stream.

However, these plans have been on hold ever since residents launched a court battle to overturn the council’s approval. A date for a hearing at the Court of Appeal is still to be set.

The firm is blaming the legal battle and the recession for its financial problems.

The latest accounts for up to the end of 2008, filed at Companies House this summer, say the firm is reliant on bank loans and a sister company – Nottingham Golf Centre Ltd.

They state: “Net liabilities were £56,976 and this casts doubt upon the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.

“The directors have taken action and continue to take action to reduce costs and hope the weather will be good for golf.

“However, in the current economic climate, it is difficult to obtain or indeed give assurances.”

Tony Ball, leader of Basildon Council , said: “It is a concern the leisure and golf industry has been hit by the recession, then there is the court case.

“It is up to the company if it is a going concern, and we have not been informed otherwise.”

He said if the firm did fold, the council would be back to square one and have to go out to tender again.

Ron Maden, director of Jack Barker and Basildon Golf Centre Ltd, said: “We are disappointed in light of the current situation and ongoing legal case, but it is not unexpected, and we remain committed to seeing the Basildon project through.”