The future of a North East golf club hangs in the balance after its plans to build three new homes next to its popular course were turned down.
Newmachar Golf Club had applied to Aberdeenshire Council for planning permission in principle for the houses on unused fairway land.
The club had hoped the sale of the venues would help raise much needed funds to enable them to improve their golf offering and also bring back essential members of staff.
The request was considered by the Garioch area committee on Tuesday.
The Honorable Vice-Chairman of Newmachar Golf Club, John McIntosh, addressed the committee to explain the importance of the plan.
He said: “It’s not just to keep the club afloat, it’s for the club to achieve its ambitions to help provide the best possible facilities that are accessible to everyone and the wider community.
“It would benefit the whole community, not just our own members.
“It would also allow us to market properly, engage more in the tourism industry and also re-employ some of our staff, for financial reasons we had to make six greenkeepers redundant.
He added: “We would like to restore jobs, fund marketing, increase visitor numbers, increase economic delivery to the local economy.
“This would allow us to expand our facilities and provide the best facilities available not just in the North East of Scotland, but across the country.”
The club had already taken a turn with a similar application in February 2021, but the plan fell through as advisers agreed to turn it down.
Members of the local community had rallied behind the proposal as 51 letters of support for the plan were sent to Aberdeenshire council.
Proponents said the proposal would bring tourism and economic benefits to the area while utilizing vacant land.
Meanwhile, only one letter against the development was submitted, raising concerns about the “unsuitable” site and visual impact.
The Newmachar Community Council had backed the plan and said: “Newmachar Golf Club makes a significant contribution to the local community.
“To continue to do so, and to develop, it must be financially secure. Proceeds from the sale of land for these sites would help achieve this goal.
Council planners had recommended that the plan be turned down as they feared the green light for the development would set an undesirable precedent.
They also argued that the plan did not comply with local authority policies.
Councilor Martin Ford said: ‘The question before me is: is there a political motive to justify three houses in the countryside?
“I’m afraid the answer is very clearly no, there isn’t.
“I appreciate that the folks at Newmachar Golf Club disagree with this and I note there has been 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 doing land development properly if we changed our position and granted at this time.”
Councilor Glen Reid added: “There is no doubting the value of the club to the region and the excellent work it does within the community, but I also cannot disagree with the planning service that if we were to approve this, I think it would really set an undesirable precedent for leaving, so unfortunately I cannot support that.
The committee decided unanimously to reject the request.