Plan to build staff accommodation at rural golf club is rejected

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir December 19, 2023 11:48

A Scottish golf club’s bid to build a family home, which would have been “essential to the daily operations”, has been rejected.

Castle Park Golf Club had proposed to build a six-bedroom home beside the golf club to be used by the owner’s family members, who work at the club, which it said was “intrinsically and permanently linked to the golf club business”.

That business has suffered in the past as the club closed down in 2014 – although it re-opened the following year.

However, East Lothian Council’s planning department has deemed the new home to be a housing development in the countryside, and believed the applicant had failed to demonstrate the property “to be necessary to support the sustainable management of a viable rural business, or that there was an essential need for a worker to live permanently at the site”.

Craig McLachlan, manager and owner of the site, was frustrated by the decision and said the possibility of an appeal was being weighed up.

He said: “They are making it impossible to run the business.

“It is not a house to sell in the country – the business needs linked accommodation.

“Golfers start at 6am on a summer morning and can be there until 11pm.

“Why are rural businesses shutting?

“It is because you cannot get staff because rural businesses are hard to get to.”

Castle Park Golf Club. Image from X

Castle Park Golf Club was established in the mid-1990s as a nine-hole course, before expanding to a full 18-hole course in the early 2000s.

The economic downturn forced its closure in 2014, before the current owners bought and re-established the course the following year.

Plans for 28 sunken lodges near the course were given the go ahead in 2022, and proposals for the new one-and-a-half storey home were made at the same time.

The design and access statement with those plans noted: “It should be understood that the house is proposed to be fully and completely affiliated with the club, with direct connections through the dwelling into the clubhouse.

“The dwelling would be funded and owned by the business, not individuals, to ensure that the golf club has adequate provision for on-site servicing and security, due to its remote location, long into the future.

“In addition, the client is aware that the proposal is not a separate entity to the golf club but rather to provide support to the daily operations and management of the golf club.

“The owner is required to file frequent police reports to the local authorities due to regular incidents of crime and vandalism on site.

“Providing a safe and secure home will allow the family to manage and monitor the site safely 24/7.”

The planning officer said: “The proposed development would set an undesirable precedent for the development of new houses in similar circumstances elsewhere in the East Lothian countryside, the cumulative effect of which would result in a detrimental impact on the rural character and amenity of the countryside.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir December 19, 2023 11:48
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1 Comment

  1. GOLFMAK December 19, 21:12

    It is so easy to say, “NO!”

    Why not add safeguards to assure the addition is used only for its intended purpose.

    BTW: “set an undesirable precedent???

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