ARSONISTS torched part of a golf course with an area the size of a football pitch set on fire by the time crews arrived to tackle the blaze.

Fortunately none of the key parts of Basildon Golf Course, Clay Hill Lane, were damaged.

Fire crews from Basildon and Corringham rushed to the scene at about 9.30pm on Sunday night and put out the fire in just over an hour staying for a second hour to make sure the fire did not reignite.

Course manager Colin Jenkins said: “The fire took place in an area of the land that’s away from the green and playing courses, so there will be no issues with anyone using the course as usual this week.

“We believe it may have been caused by some teens messing around and trying to start fires when they’re bored.

“It’s a nuisance and not something we want to see happening.”

Land at the golf course had been due to be sold for a £1 for a hotel but this decision is currently under review.

The council bought the five acre site in March 2017 for a total of £1.025 million, and plans were in place to sell the land to have a new four-star hotel, potentially from the company Hilton, to be built there.

In July councillors voted to put the plans on hold so a new feasibility study could be carried out.

Other uses for the site, including retail or residential units, office accommodation or a pub are also set to be explored.

Before the study was approved at a meeting in July, the council’s negotiations with Bran Investments, who were set to buy the land for £1, were put on hold. A council spokesman said the matter would be reviewed again at a council meeting in October. The fire is not expected to make a different to these discussions.