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A £3.6million upgrade at a historic golf club will provide a “significant economic boost” to East Lothian, according to planning documents.

Dunbar Golf Club is awaiting a final decision on proposals for a new clubhouse, academy and driving range, as well as a new short course.

The plans have angered some local residents as they also include 78 houses, which would be sold to enable the rest of the development.

Some objectors have claimed the plans only benefit the club’s members and not the local community.

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But has seen a document sent to councillors alongside the application which lays out the potential benefits of the development.

It says the improvements would “provide a significant economic boost to Dunbar as well as East Lothian as a whole” and states the project would create jobs, both in the construction phase and in the longer term.

Club chiefs believe the upgrades would create a “pathway” for junior golfers, particularly girls, and the proposals have won the backing of local active schools chiefs.

Dunbar Plans Clubhouse

“Having these exciting new facilities will not only be a major benefit for our members and visitors, but it opens up significant opportunities for local people to get involved in golf and to enjoy the many health and well-being aspects of participating in the sport,” Jack Montgomery, the club’s director of golf, told

“From the driving range and academy, through to the short game practice area and the par-3 golf course, we are breaking down barriers into the game. It will also give us much greater scope to further develop the work we do with our local schools and community groups.”

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Plans to improve the facilities at Dunbar – which has 900 members, 70% of whom are East Lothian residents – were first lodged more than ten years ago, with the council approving an earlier application in principle, which included a hotel.

The hotel is not part of the revised proposals, which have been submitted alongside housebuilder Cala. Permission already exists in principle for the development.

“These new facilities will provide a massive boost to the club and will produce many long term benefits such as attracting new participants to golf, growing golf tourism in the area and generating more permanent employment within the local community,” said Tony Thomas of APT Planning and Development, which is managing the application.

Objectors have questioned whether the construction of the new facilities is an appropriate reason to permit housing to be build to fund the “diversification of the existing business”.

Dunbar Community Council and West Barns Community Council claimed “housing should not be allowed in order to improve the golf club facilities for the benefit of their members”.

Some objectors have also raised concerns about the loss of public green space, even though the golf club is GEO accredited. The local authority’s biodiversity officer has also declared they are happy with the plans.

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Council officials recommending the plans for approval say councillors set a precedent of allowing housing to fund developments by giving the green light to the earlier project. They say it represents a “justified form of enabling development”.

Assessments of various aspects of the plans – connectivity, amenity, roads services and environmental health – have also been carried out, with authority planners satisfied with the club’s approach.

Councillors are not obliged to follow officers’ recommendations and will vote on the plans at the next planning committee meeting on Tuesday.

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