Highland Councilʼs Northern Planning Committee met this morning to discuss the application for an eighteen hole golf course on the Coul Links site, near the village of Embo, but were unable to come to a final decision after officials revealed that a last-minute objection from campaigning group Not Coul had been received and needed to be considered by the Scottish Environmental Protection Authority (SEPA).
Not Coul, led by environmental campaigner Tom Dargie, who served as a paid consultant on the Trump course project in Aberdeen, submitted an additional objection, which concerns the measurement of the size of areas involved – for example of dune slacks, and of the amount of dune heath to be affected – on the last day allowed for public comment. The developers responded to this objection yesterday (Monday 4 June), but councillors were told they needed to defer the decision to await a response from SEPA.
Nevertheless, the 15-strong committee did debate the proposal, and all seven members who spoke were in favour of granting permission.
Developer Todd Warnock said: “We are humbled that the council members spent so much time thoughtfully considering the topic. The fact that every council member who spoke was supportive and that no council member was prepared to put forth a motion for refusal was deeply gratifying.”
“Today has been extremely positive, and we think it is a big step forward for the golf development,” said Coul Links project manager Chris Haspell. “We feel that the councillors, SEPA, SNH and even the opposition have offered up a good debate. We believe that in the next few weeks the remaining issues will be resolved, and we look forward to the next meeting, and hopefully a positive decision.”
Read more: GCA reports on a visit to the Coul Links site