AMBITIOUS new plans to create the largest holiday park in the Borders near West Linton have been unveiled.

Sandy Lanes Resorts Ltd wants to develop the former Rutherford Castle Golf Course site.

Outline plans for 263 lodges, 20 glamping pods and15 tree houses as well as space for 206 touring caravans have been submitted for opinion to Scottish Borders Council.

The Nottingham-based company also wants to create leisure facilities at the site next to the A702.

And it has submitted both a Screening Request and a Proposal of Application Notice with local authority indicating a full planning application will be tabled in the coming months.

A public consultation meeting will also take place at West Linton Primary School next month.

Although the full details of the planned development have yet to be revealed, the initial move has been met by an ambivalent reception.

Graham Tulloch from West Linton Community Council said: "We have not seen any plans, nor have we had contact with the applicant.

"Given these caveats, the reaction I have had from other members of the community council is one of horror and concern.

"We know 500 units have been requested.

"This number, assuming full occupancy, could more than double the size of West Linton.

"The units are designed as holiday lets, which means visitors would travel in their own vehicles: there are questions over the infrastructure: could the local roads handle that level of increased traffic?

"If two per cent of the vehicles attempt to travel through, or worse park in, West Linton the village could potentially grind to a halt, as it odes at the moment on occasion.

"An increase in the number of touring caravans of the number quoted, on a road with limited passing places raises questions of congestion on that road."

Last week's screening submission by Sandy Lanes Resorts Ltd comes just a year after Richard Wight Estates unveiled its own plans for a luxury lodge development with sporting and leisure facilities at the site.

And almost a decade ago plans to upgrade Rutherford Castle Golf Course and build a world-class, luxurious five-star hotel and conference facility were announced.

But neither of the applications got beyond the planning stage.

While community leaders in West Linton have expressed concerns over the strain on infrastructure, they do admit the development could bring jobs and a potential boom for local retailers.

Mr Tulloch added: "There are possibilities for employment and increased patronage for local businesses, however I would like to see figures from other areas before attempting to hypothesise on those advantages.

"There may be ways for local businesses to alter their business model to take advantage of the development and we would certainly encourage them to do so.

"Until we have seen full plans and had an opportunity to discuss these with the developer and question them on these points, and others, the community council remains to be convinced of the benefits of the development."

Rutherford Castle Golf Course closed just over three years ago after membership dropped to just 56.

Set among 150 acres of parkland beneath the Pentland Hills, the par-72 course opened in May 1998.

It was built by Henry Wallace, who farmed the land for 15 years before deciding to fulfil his dream of having a golf course.

Following Wallace’s death in 1999, his family continued to run the club before selling it to property developer Manor Kingdom in 2003.

It was more recently owned by housebuilding firm Bett Homes, who had been financially supporting the club until its closure.

Local councillor Heather Anderson is eager to find out more details of this latest development at Rutherford Castle.

She told us: "We welcome investment in Tweeddale and it’s an endorsement of our lovely countryside that the developers are so confident that they will do well here.

"But we have very few details to go on right now - they have 12 weeks to submit a planning application and we will hopefully find out more once they have organised a public meeting and consulted with West Linton Community Council.

"My only slight concern at the moment is the scale of the proposed development - with over 500 accommodation units it could double the population of West Linton overnight.

"But let’s keep an open mind at this point and we look forward to learning more."