Golf driving range with cafe and pro-shop narrowly approved

Council planners had recommended the application be refused on the grounds it was on prime agricultural land and the proposed café.

Golf driving range at Burleigh Sands, Loch Leven narrowly approved LDRS

Perth and Kinross councillors have narrowly voted to approve a 19-bay golf driving range with a café and pro-shop at Loch Leven.

Council planners had recommended the application be refused on the grounds it was on prime agricultural land and the proposed café – for up to 40 customers – and shop would have a “significant impact” on businesses in Milnathort and Kinross.

It was moved for approval by local Kinross-shire councillor Richard Watters – who regularly uses the Loch Leven Heritage Trail – and supported the employment, economic and tourism benefits the facility would bring.

The application – submitted by Cundall on behalf of Burleigh Golf Ltd – was approved by seven votes to six following some lengthy discussion and questioning.

Applicant Jamie Montgomery – who owns the field and is director of Burleigh Golf Ltd – presented his application to Perth and Kinross Council’s Planning and Placemaking Committee when it met on Wednesday, July 3.

The site sits on land 240 metres North East of Lethangie Waste Water

Treatment Works close to Burleigh Sands and about halfway between Loch Leven’s Larder and Kirkgate Park in Kinross.

Mr Montgomery told councillors he was “a little disappointed” when he learnt council officers had recommended the application be refused by councillors and said they had been “working very hard” to provide the information requested.

An outstanding objection from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) was listed as a third reason for refusal by council officers but councillors were informed the objection – which related to potential flood risk – had been removed.

The landowner told councillors it would be a “state-of-the-art-facility” with “coaching and development for children”.

In terms of the café, council planners found catering for 40 customers to be too many and argued 20 would be considered “ancillary”.

The report of handling stated: “There are 19 golf driving bays proposed and only a proportion of golfers will stay for food and drink. A 40-cover café (two customers per bay) is considered inappropriate.”

Planners argued it “would likely cause harm to the viability and vitality of Kinross and Milnathort centres” and said “any café should be scaled appropriately to be genuinely ancillary to the driving range and restricted to 20 covers as a maximum.”

Mr Montgomery told the committee: “The main attraction of Kinross is Loch Leven.

“There are over 3000 daily visits to the trail every year. Currently there are no facilities at all at Burleigh Sands.”


He told councillors you would have to walk/cycle “two miles either side” of Burleigh Sands to get to the nearest toilet.

The landowner also argued the 10-hectare site was “certainly not top quality” and “highly marginal” in terms of yield.

Mr Montgomery – whose land is farmed by a local farmer – said they were “making virtually nothing out of it and 20 per cent was not cropped at all”.

He said it was the “most marginal field” of all his fields.

His agent argued the development would not greatly damage the land for potential future agricultural use.

He said: “We don’t consider it’s highly impactful to the top layer of soil if it were to be returned to agricultural use.”

After moving the plans for approval SNP councillor Richard Watters – who passes the field “frequently” walking along the trail or on his bike – said: “There are bare, muddy areas on that field on a regular basis. Visually, I would question how prime agricultural land it is.”

Conservative councillor Ian James seconded the motion for approval and sympathised with Mr Montgomery’s “need to diversify the land to make it more profitable”.

Labour councillor Alasdair Bailey tabled an amendment to refuse the plans.

Bailie Bailey said: “I can’t see any good reason for deviating from policy and putting this on perfectly good agricultural land.”

Conservative councillor Bob Brawn seconded.

Councillors voted to approve the plans by seven votes to six.

Following the meeting a spokesperson for Voigt Architects said: “Voigt Architects were delighted to design and support the proposal for a new golf driving range at Burleigh Sands, Kinross, containing a 19-bay driving range, pro-shop and café.

“The new golf centre building has been designed to sit comfortably in the location close to the Loch Leven Nature Reserve. The key driver to the design was to create a facility that would ‘respect that character and setting of the rural location’ and it is felt that the modern design creates a stunning modern facility that is sensitive and complimentary to its surroundings.

“The building will use a green metal roof that disguises the building from the front, Scottish timber cladding, and a natural stone curved wall at the front that rises up from the ground and returns to the ground at the other end – helping the building to blend seamlessly into the landscape.

“The floodlit driving range would be open all year round and each bay would also include the professional ball tracking system Top Tracer, which provides real-time information on every shot hit to enable a statistical analysis of ball striking.”

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