FORMER Rangers owner Sir David Murray's firm has asked for more time to start work on a ­housing development next to his £5 million golf course.

He has fought a 20-year battle to build homes at the site in Newhouse, North Lanarkshire.

He unveiled plans for the golf course, luxury homes, a country club, hotel and a leisure club but planning delays held up the development.

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The Torrance Park golf club, named after Ryder Cup hero Sam, was opened in 2009. However, building work on a development of 270 homes has never started. Permission for the homes was granted in 2011.

Murray's firm New Brannock Limited has said it is now in discussions with a developer about the homes. But it is not ready to proceed and planning permission for the £30m project has expired.

The firm has now asked North Lanarkshire Council for another three years to start the work.

However, Jestyn Davies, a ­director of New Brannock, said he hoped it could be started this year.

He said: "We are very close to starting work on this and we have a housing developer in place. Work is set to commence on a new road and a clubhouse at the course this year and I would hope work on the house can also be started.

"It will be a good mix of family housing.

"The golf club has been up and running for a few years now and has been successful."

In a submission to the council, New Brannock's planning consultants Muir Smith Evans said: "Since the granting of ­planning permission New Brannock has been working with planning officials in an effort to bring forward the development.

"A developer has been ­identified and work has commenced on the details required to discharge the various outstanding conditions of the consent. While the appointed developer is already in discussion with planning officials regarding the details of the proposed development it is not yet possible to determine precisely when an application can be submitted.

"For this reason it is necessary to seek a further extension to the time period for commencement of the development."

North Lanarkshire Council said a decision on the application was pending.