Golf club idea swings it with planners

A GOLF club is set to win its battle to open a driving range and new clubhouse in the shadow of Edinburgh Airport.

Turnhouse Golf Club's 1 million plans have received the backing of council planners.

Just 18 months ago the city council told Turnhouse the proposal would be too damaging to the surrounding countryside to go ahead.

However, the golf club has made a number of concessions to make their new bid more acceptable.

The car park is set to be smaller than originally planned, there will only be one greenkeeper's building, instead of two, and the club has offered to carry out landscaping to improve the look of the surrounding area.

Five new homes will also be built on the site, but that has not stopped officers recommending that councillors on the planning committee give it the green light.

The club, which has 750 members, was established in 1897 and is desperate to replace its century-old clubhouse, which has become expensive to run. It also has more than 100 junior members and wants to launch a new golf academy and driving range to try to attract youngsters in the build-up to the Ryder Cup being held in Scotland in 2014.

The plans have now been five years in the making and club captain Robin White said a lot of hard work had been put in ensuring new ones would be acceptable.

"We realise we are in the green belt and have taken a long time to get this into a format which will be acceptable," he said.

Planning chief Alan Henderson said the redesign would result in a "better visual relationship".

The facts

Lothian Golf Club, the forerunner of Turnhouse Golf Club, was formed in 1893, but found a site for its own course just four years later.

The original version of the current course was opened in 1897 and expanded to 18 holes by 1900.

The present clubhouse, which replaced the original wooden hut, was built in 1910.

Alterations suggested by designer James Braid were made in 1924 and in 1950 a practice ground was built on the seventh and eighth holes.