Golf club wins approval for huge facilities upgrade

A MAJOR upgrade of one of Scotland’s best-known golf courses will go ahead despite fears plans would be kicked into the long grass.

Dozens of jobs will be created at Dunbar Golf Club, in East Lothian, after proposals were approved for championship-standard facilities, with land being sold for a new hotel and housing.

There were concerns after the plans were recommended for rejection at a hearing three weeks ago, because the housing would be built on greenfield land.

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The decision has been welcomed by club members, local residents and businesses.

Councillors voted yesterday to back plans for a nine-hole short course, practice areas and a driving range.

The blueprint also includes an academy which, it is hoped, will become a “centre of excellence” for east-central Scotland.

The club will now open talks with developers keen to build the hotel and homes.

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Bosses said the upgrade would turn Dunbar into a “mecca for golf” and create 60 full and part-time jobs.

The expansion, which will take four years to complete, is tipped to bring in £1 million to the local economy.

Bill Kane, club captain, said: “We are delighted that East Lothian Council has approved our application and to help us realise our long-held ambition.

“East Lothian will now have world-class facilities of which it can be proud, and we look forward to working with the council and local community to make the most of this crucial investment.”

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He added: “The process has been long and arduous but we are thrilled that approval has been granted.”

Richard Smeed, committee member of Dunbar Trades Association and manager of the town’s Springfield Guest House, said: “It’s been a long-held ambition of the golf club to have this development, and I am sure it will do Dunbar a lot of good.

“It will bring more people into the town – something which I can only encourage. ”

Adriano Andreucci, owner of Adriano’s chip shop and the Central Cafe in Dunbar, said: “I think it’s absolutely fantastic news – we need more visitors.

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“What we are waiting for here in Dunbar is an influx and I am sure we will see a boost after this decision.”

Councillor Paul McLennan, leader of East Lothian Council, said: “This application is not just one of the most important recent applications for Dunbar but for East Lothian as a whole.

“Golf is a major tourist attraction for East Lothian and the county will feature on the world’s golfing stage when it hosts the Open in 2013.

“Dunbar Golf Club is one of the Open qualifying courses and whilst the course is a top standard, the facilities require to be upgraded to a similar standard.”