PLANS to transform a former golf course have been submitted to East Lothian Council.

Whitekirk Hill, which already has planning permission to revamp the clubhouse at the former Whitekirk Golf and Country Club, hopes to build “circa” 140 holiday lodges and woodland pods on the site.

Debate centring on the development, which will be determined by the council’s planning committee, has been ongoing for months.

Tony Thomas, representing Whitekirk Hill, said: “Whitekirk Hill Ltd is delighted to reach this milestone after months of hard work completing the environmental impact assessment (EIA). The findings of the EIA have informed the evolution of the indicative masterplan to ensure that we respect the setting of Whitekirk Hill –development is earmarked for less than half of the site – whilst also seeking to create a new high-quality destination in East Lothian, driving investment, job creation and increased visitor spend alongside the refurbishment and expansion of the existing clubhouse building, which we secured permission for in July this year.

“Work has already started on this first phase and we hope to open the doors to the public in summer 2019.Should we be successful with this application for planning permission in principle for the lodges, this would follow 12 months later with the development of the first 10 lodges close to the clubhouse.”

The plans show a mix of designs, with buildings created over one, one-and-a-half and two storeys. Work would be spread over six phases and it is anticipated it could be phased over the next 10 years.

The golf club opened in 1995 and planning permission was given nine years ago to expand the facility, with plans including a 100-bed hotel, new clubhouse, a second course, 21 lodges and 42 homes, but that never got off the ground.

Eric Martin, who lives in the village and is part of Dunpender Community Council, said residents were still looking at the plans before forming an opinion.

Save Whitekirk Campaign has set up an online petition in opposition to the plans.

A spokesman said: “The plans to destroy this wonderful landscape, a haven for wildlife, show no respect for the countryside or local communities and are driven solely by profit. With 150 holiday lodges crammed on to the former fairways, the beautiful landscape and its wildlife will be lost forever. There is another way! A country park, managed by a charitable trust, could deliver fantastic community benefits, education and natural play spaces, as well as jobs and spend in the local community, enhancing rather than damaging the environment.”

The spokesman said it was “hugely questionable” that 150 new self-catered lodges were needed, adding: “Any search on [property rental website] Airbnb will show an average of 100 self-catering options available in North Berwick pretty much every week between September and May, so an additional 150 could actually overload and damage the existing tourism market. The economic benefits will surely be seasonal at best and will not outweigh the negative impact on the countryside and local communities.”