Bid to build Borders’ largest holiday park near West Linton

Rutherford Castle golf course at West Linton.
Rutherford Castle golf course at West Linton.

Plans to transform a former golf course into the Borders’ largest holiday park have been submitted.

Sandy Lane Resorts wants to erect 180 timber-clad holiday lodges at Rutherford Castle near West Linton.

It also plans to refurbish the former club house and build a retail village, swimming pool, bar and restaurant and function room, as well as reopen part of the golf course and introduce a number of ponds.

The Middlesex-based developer revealed plans for 250 luxury caravans at the site early last year.

However, its initial master plan, which also included 192 touring pitches, 20 glamping pods, 15 tree houses and a bowling alley, has been scaled back following feedback from the public.

In a design statement submitted to Scottish Borders Council as part of an official planning application this week, Oliver Munden of planning consultants Avison Young said that around 175 people had attended public consultation events last April.

He said that while the type of development proposed and location of the scheme were generally supported, the scale had been considered locally to be “excessive”.

“Following consultation with the community the project was significantly reduced,” he said.

“This reduction involved the removal of all forms of accommodation other than lodges, and reduced the total number to 180 lodges.

“In addition, the village centre was drastically reduced in size, being reduced from three buildings of approximately 7,460 square metres to one building of approximately 2,865 square metres.

“This involved the loss of some facilities within the village centre including hot food takeaways, bowling alley and cinema.”

The pub and restaurant provision has also been scaled back and a proposed spa facility has been removed.

However, the firm is hoping to provide plenty of on site entertainment, including breathing new life into the golf course, which was closed in 2015 due to falling membership.

“The existing 18-hole golf course has been unused for several years and the main principle is to condense the 18-hole course to nine holes and to improve the ability to play the course by introducing surface water control methods and assist in eliminating the wet areas which currently exist,” Mr Munden explained.

“A large central area released from the current use of the golf course would be released to develop a very low-density lodge park.

“The lodges which are proposed are caravans by definition but are very high-quality units with a timber clad appearance.

“The relatively wet nature of the site leads to the need to consider attenuation of the surface water and this offers the opportunity for some water bodies to be introduced carefully into the layout and the surrounding areas of land which are not to be developed. These then introduce areas of interest but also areas of ecological benefit.”

The planning application will be considered by Scottish Borders Council over the coming months. If it is successful, the developer hopes to start work in September with a view to opening in late 2020.