A country club is embarking on its “next chapter” after it was snapped up by an international leisure centre chain.

Wickwoods Country Club in Albourne, near Hassocks, has been taken over by David Lloyd Clubs.

The Argus: Lee Goossens and his wife Vanesa Goosens. Picture from 2010.Lee Goossens and his wife Vanesa Goosens. Picture from 2010. (Image: Terry Applin)

Lee Goossens, who owned Wickwoods, said he will “watch with interest” after selling to the international leisure chain.

Lee said: “The last three years have been exceptionally challenging for the entire hospitality industry, and I’m incredibly proud of how the Wickwoods teams have dealt with those challenges.

“Reflecting on the future, I’ve come to the realisation and understanding that an entirely different level of infrastructure, experience and ability is now required to build on the foundations that we've created.

“Having accepted that fact, it was a case of finding the right suitor, and David Lloyd has been interested in buying Wickwoods for some considerable time. 

“Whilst they appear as a large corporation, each club is its own business.”

The Argus: Wickwoods Country Club from aboveWickwoods Country Club from above (Image: Google)

Lee has owned Wickwoods for over ten years. He said there will be no changes for members of the club in the short term.

He said: “It is very much business as usual.

“David Lloyd Clubs are able to deliver a greater level of opportunity for the team, an increased level of investment for the club and significant industry experience. As such, for the club to move forward, it is right that I step aside and hand over the reins to David Lloyd Clubs”.

The Argus: The indoor tennis courts at WickwoodsThe indoor tennis courts at Wickwoods (Image: Neil Walker)

David Lloyd has 102 leisure centres dotted around the country, including in Brighton, Worthing and Eastbourne.

Assistant operations manager for Wickwoods Natasha Cottrell said: “In time, we expect to allow members to expand their usage across multiple David Lloyd clubs.

“Wickwoods already had plans for development, and with David Lloyd Clubs the future looks to be even brighter.”

A spokesman for David Lloyd said: "We are pleased to confirm that David Lloyd Leisure has acquired Wickwoods Country Club in West Sussex and we look forward to meeting the members and team in due course."