Ministers refuse planning permission for Coul Links golf course
Plans to build a championship golf course at Coul Links in the Highlands have been refused planning permission by the Scottish Government.
Consent was sought for the construction of an 18-hole course, along with the erection of a clubhouse, the renovation of existing buildings to form a maintenance facility, along with a pro shop, caddy hut, workshop, administration building, and information booth.
About 32 acres of the planned development was proposed for dunes at Coul Links at Embo, near Dornoch.
The Highland Council voted in June 2018 to approve the development, which lies within the Loch Fleet site of scientific special interest (SSSI).
But the application was notified to Ministers due to an outstanding objection by Scottish Natural Heritage.
A notice published alongside the planning decision stated: “This decision has been made as the harmful impacts of this development to protected habitats and species would outweigh the potential socio-economic benefits.”
Planning minister Kevin Stewart said: “Reporters have concluded that the harmful impacts of this development to protected habitats and species would outweigh the potential socio-economic benefits.
“This proposal does not comply with the relevant provisions of the Highland Wide Local Development Plan, and runs contrary to Scottish planning policy’s emphasis on protecting natural heritage sites and world class environmental assets.
“The Scottish Government has considered the reporter’s findings carefully and agree with the recommendation that planning permission should be refused.”
Welcoming the announcement, Scottish Greens Highlands and Islands MSP John Finnie said: “I am absolutely delighted that this ill thought out and unsuitable application has been rejected. It seems the Scottish Government has learned the lesson from the disastrous decision to grant permission for Trump’s course in Aberdeenshire after all.
“Coul Links is a spectacular site of environmental significance and has several important international designations.”
He added: “It’s important that the Highland Council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise now look at how they can deliver long term, sustainable and well paid work for the people of Sutherland, without threatening its precious environment.”