The controversial Coul Links proposal is back on the table following a planning application by Communities For Coul.
Their revised plans had a public airing at Highland Council’s north planning committee this morning.
Previous plans by American entrepreneur Todd Warnock attracted vehement opposition from environmentalists and locals, with 90,000 signing a petition against the Coul Links golf club.
Scottish Ministers threw out the application in 2020.
Now, Communities For Coul (C4C) has resurrected the golf club idea, but says its own plans are different.
At this stage, C4C has only submitted a planning application notice, which councillors were asked to note at this morning’s meeting.
Old ground, new plan
Opening the discussion, chairman Drew Millar reminded councillors that they must consider each new planning application on its own merits.
“Given the previous situation that members of the previous planning committee faced, we need to keep an open mind,” he said. “This is a new application, so we don’t go over old ground.”
Councillor Maxine Smith asked for confirmation that the applicant will provide a full economic impact assessment for Coul Links.
In a similar vein, councillor Angela MacLean asked for an environmental assessment.
“There was a long meeting for the last application,” said Ms Maclean. “The main issue was the mitigation of the environmental impact and I think that’s something the applicant will really have to overcome in order to get a different answer.”
New golf plan claims to protect local environment
Council planners confirmed that economic and environmental assessments will be a “key component” when full plans come to committee.
Indeed, they said these would likely form the basis of C4C’s arguments regarding the benefits of the scheme.
C4C say they have put together a comprehensive plan to restore and protect the Coul Links, which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). They have also reduced the amount of land used for tees, greens, fairways and walkways by over 40%.
The new golf club could create 175-250 local jobs, according to the applicant, whilst protecting the local environment.
However, opposition group Not Coul vowed to keep fighting.
A full planning application is expected to go before Highland Council later this year.
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