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A golf club’s plans to build three houses to re-employ redundant greenkeepers have been rejected by the Scottish Government.

Newmachar Golf Club in Aberdeenshire applied for permission to build the homes earlier this year.

The club planned to make use of empty land to sell the homes in order to improve its facilities and raise money to re-employ six greenkeepers it previously made redundant.

More than 50 residents backed the proposals, which also won the support of Newmachar Community Council.

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Tourism chiefs at VisitAberdeenshire also pleaded for the development to be given the green light. Just one objection was lodged.

However, it was rejected by Aberdeenshire councillors in April who agreed with planning officers that the move would set an “undesirable precedent” for the area.

The club, which hosts the Farmfoods Scottish Challenge on the Challenge Tour, took its case to the Scottish Government – but the executive’s planning reporter Rosie Leven sided with the council, claiming the proposals were “incompatible” with a local development plan.

She added she could not support “development at any cost”.

The decision is likely to rankle with golfers in the north-east, who have previously spoken out in favour of the plans.

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George Young, secretary of the North East District Association of Scottish Golf, said the group was “very disappointed” in a letter to Aberdeenshire Council. He also wrote to the reporter urging her to approve the plans, without success.

“This golf club, amongst several others, is one of the leading contributors to the promotion of golf in not only our district, but also to the wider area, and especially with those that are being introduced into golf at the ‘grass roots’ level,” he added.

“This golf club is not only valuable and important to the local community, but also to the promotion of golf generally in this area.”

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