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Golf course at Coul Links in the frame again


By Caroline McMorran

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An unexpected attempt is being made to resurrect the failed plan for a championship golf course at Coul Links, near Embo.

Embo Junior Football and Athletic Club (EJFAC) has lodged a ‘screening request’ with Highland Council to develop a 18-hole course and practice area on 325 hectares of links ground. Screening is a procedure used to determine whether a proposed project is likely to have significant effects on the environment.

The submission of a screening application is the latest twist in the long-running saga of attempts to establish a golf course at Coul Links.
The submission of a screening application is the latest twist in the long-running saga of attempts to establish a golf course at Coul Links.

East Sutherland and Eddertorn ward councillor Jim McGillivray, an Embo resident, said the club had been dormant for a considerable time but was been used “to provide an initial vehicle to open up the discussion on Coul Links”.

The move is a surprise twist in the long-running Coul Links saga. A planning application initially put forward by American inward investor Todd Warnock and business partners found favour with Highland Council but was called in by the Scottish Government and turned down on environmental grounds. following an inquiry.

Cllr McGillivray said that Mr Warnock was not connected with the screening application.

He said: “I have had no personal contact with the original American investors since the spring and have no idea if they are still interested in funding any part of any Coul Links development. There will be money sloshing around the elite looking for an investment opportunity.”

He added: “A more robust and formally structured entity is required to pursue subsequent stages beyond the early screening request. It is also fundamentally important that, for any substantive progress to be made, there is clear evidence of substantial community support coming from the Sutherland towns and villages.”

A Highland Council spokeswoman said a consultation process would have to take place before a planning application for such a major development could be submitted.

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