Housing plans at Newmachar Golf Club refused

The future of Newmachar Golf Club hangs in the balance after its plans to build three new homes next to its popular course were refused.

By Kirstie Topp, Local Democracy Reporter
Wednesday, 27th April 2022, 7:39 am
Updated Wednesday, 27th April 2022, 7:40 am
Newmachar Golf Club had applied to Aberdeenshire Council for planning permission to build three homes on unused ground.
Newmachar Golf Club had applied to Aberdeenshire Council for planning permission to build three homes on unused ground.

The club had applied to Aberdeenshire Council seeking planning permission in principle for the homes on unused course ground.

The club had hoped that the sale of the sites would help raise much needed funds to allow them to improve their golf offering and to also bring back essential staff.

The application was considered by the Garioch Area Committee last week.

Newmachar Golf Club’s honourable vice president John McIntosh addressed the committee to explain the importance of the plan: “It’s not just to keep the club afloat, it’s for the club to realise their ambitions to help provide the best facilites possible which are available to everyone and the wider community.

“It would bring benefits to the whole community, not just for our own individual members.

“It would also to allow us to market properly, to further engage in the tourism industry and also to re-employ some of our staff, for financial reasons we had to make six greenkeepers redundant.

He added: “We would like to reinstate jobs, fund marketing, to increase visitors, increase economic delivery in the local economy.

“This would allow us to expand our facilites and provide the best facilities available not only in the north-east of Scotland but in the whole country.”

The club had previously taken a swing with a similar application in February 2021 but the plan landed in the rough as councillors agreed to refuse it.

Members of the local community had rallied behind the proposal as 51 letters in support of the plan had been sent to Aberdeenshire Council.

Supporters said the proposal would bring tourism and economic benefits to the area while using a piece of vacant land.

Just one letter against the development was submitted raising concerns about the “unsuitable” site and visual impact.

Newmachar Community Council had backed the plan and said: “The Newmachar Golf Club makes a significant contribution to the local community. To continue to do this, and to develop, it needs to be secure financially. The proceeds from the sale of land for these sites would help to achieve this.”

Council planners had recommended the plan be refused as they were concerned that giving the development the go-ahead would set an undesirable precedent.

They also argued that the plan did not meet the local authority’s policies.

Councillor Martin Ford said: “The question in front of me is, is there a policy grounds for justifying three houses in the countryside? I’m afraid the answer is very clearly no there is not.

“I appreciate people from Newmachar Golf Club would not agree with that and I note there was a lot of support for this but that’s because there is a lot of support for the club.

“I don’t think we would be serving the public well or conducting land use planning properly if we changed our position and granted at this time.”

Councillor Glen Reid added: “There is no doubt about the value of the club to the local area and the great work that it does within the community however I can’t disagree either with the planning service that if we were to approve this I think it really would set an undesirable departure precedent so unfortunately I can’t support this.”

The committee unanimously agreed to refuse the application.