London golf course closed after it was burned out by suspected arsonist

Five public and private golf clubs in the City of London have been closed after a fire caused more than $400,000 in damage at a course clubhouse.

A City of London employee has been charged with arson after a fire at a golf course clubhouse meant to be used for homeless. — BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) October 5, 2018

The Portobello Road Golf Club, accompanied by Charterhouse Golf Club, Bentley Tennis Club, the Royal Exchange Golf Club and the Whitsbury Golf Club, were all closed for repairs after the fire this week. Battersea Dogs & Cats Home said it was one of two dozen or so guest clubs that had rented the clubhouse while repairs were being made, which was not the case with all of the facilities.

The fire, which is thought to have been set at around 7 a.m. on Monday morning, left a $45,000 hole in the clubhouse roof, $150,000 in damage to club rooms and $280,000 in loss of rent and gift shop revenue, said the Evening Standard. The cause is currently being investigated by the Metropolitan Police, which plans to open a fire investigation unit to “investigate the causes and any findings to identify any potential lessons to be learned” in the wake of the fire.

The Portobello Road Golf Club, which has long specialized in serving the homeless population in the heart of the City, is managed by the Sean Penny Foundation, a charity that caters to homeless people through the provision of a warm bed, food and showers. As a result of the fire, the charity’s Head of Operations, Graham Thomson, was one of the first to arrive at the scene when the fire broke out. “We saw quite clearly that there was smoke billowing,” Thomson told the Evening Standard. “It was put out very quickly and extinguished, obviously, by the emergency services. Once they got the fire out, they were able to see that there was extensive water damage.”

Thomson declined to comment on the potential closure of the course. However, he said, “All information we have has shown the club was very well, very well protected.”

Read the full story at The Evening Standard.


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