New owners take over at popular sports facility in Harborough

One of the new owners Damien Loach with Rose Thomas who is staying on as manager and Barry Burnham former owner.'PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER
One of the new owners Damien Loach with Rose Thomas who is staying on as manager and Barry Burnham former owner.'PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

A popular Harborough sports facility that attracts thousands of visitors every year has been sold for well over £1million.

The 22.6-acre Kibworth Shooting Ground, off the A6 between Market Harborough and Kibworth, has been bought by local businessmen Damien Loach and Luke Dakin, both 42.

There had been fears that the club land, just off the A6, could be sold to housing developers.

But both the new owners, whose business background is in shop fitting and retail display, have been club members themselves at Kibworth for three years.

And Mr Loach told the Mail: “We’re not coming to change the place. It’s business as usual. We just want to keep and enhance what’s already here.

“We’re very aware of the business’s history and we want to keep the local staff, including the manager Rose Thomas, and keep this fantastic amenity moving forwards.”

The duo took over the club last week, after months of paperwork connected with both buying a new property and acquiring a gun club.

They have already looked at club signage, and plan to revamp the club shop.

Barry Burnham, who has been the club’s owner since 1982, admitted he had mixed feelings onthe handover.

“But I’m 70 next year, and I’ve got no one to leave it to - and I shall still be visiting as a club member,” he said.

“I think the club is in safe hands with these guys.”

The Mail understands there were several interested potential buyers, and Mr Burnham chose the ones who he felt would benefit the club the most.

The Shooting Ground was established in the 1960s and has since been developed into a popular leisure destination for enthusiasts across the East Midlands.

Now it’s the biggest gun club in Leicestershire.

It offers clay shooting stands, a covered air rifle shooting range, a .22 rim rifle range, a covered air pistol range, an air gun shooting field and a practice range.

The facility also includes a purpose built modern clubhouse and café, a shop, teaching room and car park, with additional ponds, tracks and open land.