A 114-YEAR-OLD tax document which saw land sold to a town council to cope with its increasing demand for golf is being used to try and overturn a ruling against a community asset bid.

The 1906 Dalrymple Disposition, as it is being called, set out the terms in which Sir Walter Hamilton Dalrymple of North Berwick sold part of his estate to the town’s Provost Magistrate and councillors for £6,250.

And it has been lodged with the Scottish Government as part of an appeal by North Berwick Community Development Company against East Lothian Council’s decision not to let them buy part of the site.

The original document states that the land, which extended to  just over 128 acres, should only be used for the purposes of “a public park and place for public resort and recreation for the inhabitants of North Berwick and for the use of golf and other clubs and visitors”.

It goes on to say the magistrate and councillors “shall be entitled to set apart of lease or let any part of the said lands for a golf course and for the playing of golf or any other games”.

At the time of the sale, a nine-hole private golf course had been established in the east of the town known as Rhodes Links; however, the popularity of the sport meant the more established West Links 18-hole course was overcrowded and the town council approached Sir Walter about selling the land so it could expand the course on Rhodes Links to 18 holes, leading to the establishment of the Glen Golf Club.

Sir Walter Hamilton Dalrymple, who died in 1920, was the 8th baronet of North Berwick and the family estate includes the Bass Rock.

North Berwick Community Development Company wants to buy a 1.3-hectare site off the town’s Lime Grove, at the edge of the land, and transform it into a theatre, cafe, cinema and hostel which it says would benefit all ages.

However, it has faced opposition from some neighbours of the land, who described the plans as “fanciful at best”.

North Berwick Coastal Area Partnership formed the Lime Grove Asset Transfer Group three years ago to oversee bringing the site, described as the last piece of brownfield land in the town, into community ownership.

This led to the establishment of the community development group, which has more than 1,200 members, to buy the 1.3-hectare site from owners East Lothian Council.

The local authority, however, rejected the bid to bring the site into community ownership.

Now the community development group has lodged the original document, which covers the land in question, with the Scottish Government Reporter in a bid to win its appeal.

The community development company has been advised by the Community Ownership Support Service, a Scottish Government-funded programme, in its bid to take over the site for the town.

Opponents of the community hub, who insist they are not ‘NIMBYs’, say their concerns have been ignored by supporters of the project and the impact on their homes was not considered.