A BLUEPRINT for a woodland housing and tourism development at a Moray Golf Course has been given council backing.
Up to 20 houses, as well as 16 holiday cabins and six glamping pods, are included in the masterplan for Kinloss Golf Course.
The vision, created by MAKAR homes and the landowner in consultation with the local authority, sees homes and holiday accommodation nestled within the woodland surrounding the nine-hole course.
The aim is to give residents and holiday-makers a "woodland experience" within an area of enhanced biodiversity.
Owner Tommy Dingwall pointed out that the golf club is already a recreational asset for local people and visitors to Moray.
He said: "Additional holiday cabins and glamping pods will directly and indirectly create jobs for the local economy. An area has been clearly defined for the accommodations away from the main thoroughfare of the course, offering safe recreational spaces and amenity facilities to complement the holiday accommodation. Residential and holiday accommodation will have the same visual style."
Speaking during a meeting of the council’s planning and regulatory services committee, MAKAR’s Neil Sutherland said: "The really interesting thing for Moray is that this is an exemplar of how housing development, and other things, can go hand-in-hand with well-managed woodland."
Forestry experts have been involved in creating the plan, which received unanimous backing from committee members. At the moment, around 25 per cent of the 27.7 hectare site is woodland, planted between 15 and 21 years ago. While trees would be felled to make way for homes as well as solar access, new planting is included, resulting in a 0.3 hectare increase. A range of native species are included in the plan to encourage increased biodiversity across the site.
Mr Dingwall added: "There will be additional tree species including fruit trees, as well as measures to increase the amount of light reaching the forest floor. Two SUDs ponds are proposed within the tourist accommodation area helping to attract birds and mammals."
The owners took the decision to diversify following a downturn in golf club membership following the withdrawal of the RAF from Kinloss in 2012. The course was changed from 18 holes to nine.
Mr Dingwall said: "The withdrawal resulted in a substantial fall in membership at the golf club, from a peak of 380 to 120 today. A significant number of RAF personnel were keen golfers and the club even had its own RAF Golf Society. The Army Barracks at Kinloss has not generated the same club membership levels."
There are already five homes on the site.