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Landowner Edward Abel Smith submits 'screening application' for affordable housing on Coul Farm following Coul Links golf course planning consent

By Caroline McMorran

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A SCREENING application to build 30 houses at Coul Farm has been submitted to Highland Council, the Northern Times has learned.

Landowner Edward Abel Smith is proposing the development on farmland next to the approach road to Embo.

Coul Links landowner Edward Abel Smith.
Coul Links landowner Edward Abel Smith.

A screening application is being made to determine whether an Environmental Impact Assessment is required as part of a planning application.

The application comes after the North Planning Applications Committee (NPAC) approved a controversial application by Communities for Coul (C4C) to build a championship golf course at Coul Links at its meeting on December 6.


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The application has been referred to the Scottish Government following objections from NatureScot, a statutory consultee.

Mr Abel Smith already has planning permission for the first phase of a £20 million eco-hotel near the site of the planned golf course.

A statement accompanying his latest application reads: “The purpose of this development is to support the jobs created by Coul Links Golf Course and Coul Links Hotel.

“The developer has also agreed to gift one house to the Embo Trust for their use to raise funds for the village.

“The development will be designed and modelled as residential housing to support population growth in the area and not as holiday rentals.

“The houses will be earmarked primarily for those working at Coul Links Golf Course and Coul Links Hotel."

Mr Abel Smith has appointed architect and Embo resident Iain Levens from Levens Studios to assist with the design of the properties. Mr Levens designed Coul Links Hotel.

Councillor Jim McGillivray, East Sutherland and Edderton, and also an Embo resident said: “The landowner made a series of pledges which were published in the Northern Times earlier in the month.

Cllr Jim McGillivray.
Cllr Jim McGillivray.
The pledges made by Coul Links landowner Edward Abel Smith.
The pledges made by Coul Links landowner Edward Abel Smith.

“I am delighted to see that the wheels of pledge 12 about providing housing are already progressing.

“Sutherland is suffering very badly from chronic depopulation and a very badly skewed demographic profile, and jobs and housing for our young people are sorely needed.”

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