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Director of Communities4Coul (C4C), a group spearheading plans for a championship golf course at Coul Links near Embo has hit back after Brora Community Council declined to write a letter in support of the project

By Gregor White

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Coul Links.
Coul Links.

The Northern Times previously reported how community council members raised a number of concerns about the proposals.

Brora Community Council secretary Ruwan Uduwerage-Perera said he was worried about the environmental implications of the development, which will cover one per cent of the Loch Fleet Site of Special Scientific Interest, and fellow council member Diana Royce said she was not in favour of writing a letter of support.

Chairman Russell Rekhy said: “There is a bit more work we need to do on this.”

Now in a letter sent to Mr Rekhy and copied to the newspaper, Communities4Coul (C4C) Brorar director Andy Stewart said he was “somewhat surprised” to read last week’s story.

“As a director for Communities for Coul, I first contacted Brora Community Council in January 2021 with an offer to explain what our group was planning to do and what this might mean for Brora,” he said.

“I was told that time would be made available at the next meeting of the council, and nine months on, the council have still not made time for C4C.

“In the interim, the council dealt with another issue regarding golf in Brora and it was apparent from the discussion that some members of the council have little understanding of the importance of golf tourism to this community.

“In May C4C held virtual ‘town hall’ meetings in each of the communities, and still members of the community council did not engage or attend.

“These meetings were followed by a community ballot run by Civica which, in Brora, returned a 68.6 per cent vote in favour of the development.

“It appears from last week’s article that the councillors are ignorant of how Brora voted.

“I understand that everyone is entitled to their own view, but I think the community council have a duty to come to information-based decisions and their inability to engage with C4C is inexcusable.

“I also understand that Ruwan Uduwerage-Perera is a member of the movement against this development and may be using their propaganda as a source of his information.

“I was surprised that he and Diane Joyce (sic) felt able to provide such clear views having not sought any information directly from those behind the plans.

“This development would rescue the rapidly degrading environment at Coul Links from its current, awful state, providing the money (for the first time ever) for a fully funded environmental management plan.

“The ‘cost’ of this would be to take just one per cent of the Loch Fleet SSSI as a golf course. Closer to home, this could be worth £1.6 million per year to the economy in Brora.

“It was interesting that the article quoted individual councillors without any official statement from the community council.

“I note that the council are reported to be taking time to consider the issue more fully and I would urge you to properly engage with C4C as a matter of good practice and to recognise the views of those you represent.”

Related article: Cool response to request for Coul Links support letter

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