Eastbourne Downs Golf Club is facing legal action from the council in a row over almost £90,000 in unpaid rent.
The council says the club has reneged on repayment arrangements and the decision to forfeit the lease on the golf course and clubhouse was ‘a last resort’.
But officials at the East Dean Road club say they have been proactive in trying to resolve the rent arrears and want to continue talks.
Both the council and club say the main concern now is for employees and members.
A spokesperson at the council said, “It is with regret and the decision represents the last resort for the council in the recovery of rent arrears and follows two years of discussions and agreed repayment arrangements that the golf club has subsequently failed to meet.
“At a time of unprecedented cuts in government funding to the council, the arrears represent a substantial sum of money which could be used to fund vital public services.
“With little or no prospect of repayment in the near future, the council has no choice but to pursue this course of action.
“The council has great sympathy for the employees and members at the golf club at this difficult time and hopes a way can be found to return the club to a sustainable footing.”
A spokesperson for the board at the golf club said, “The club believes it has put forward viable solutions to be able to pay the arrears and the club would welcome meaningful dialogue to resolve the current difficulties.
“We share the council’s concern with regard to the employees and members and wish to continue our 110-year history of providing affordable golf to the residents and visitors to the borough.”
The club, where membership is almost £600 a year, was first laid out in 1908 alongside the main A259 at the top of the hill. It is known for its downland setting and spectacular views.