Coul Links golf course planning enquiry opens

18 February 2019

A Public Enquiry into controversial plans to build a golf course over an area of coastal dunes north of Dornoch, which has three conservation designations, opened in Clashmore on 26 February.

The enquiry follows the calling in of the planning application by Scottish Ministers last year, after it was approved by Highland Council against the advice of its Planning Officers, and in spite of the fact that the site is an area of natural dunes of considerable scientific and environmental value, and is ajacent to or includes  Loch Fleet Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI),  The Dornoch and Loch Fleet Special Protection Area (SPA),  and the Dornoch and Loch Fleet Ramsar Site.

Rita Campbell writes in the Press & Journal  26 February

"Plans were first launched in 2015 for an 18-hole championship course spanning 805 acres, by US businessman Todd Warnock and developer Mike Keiser.

"Nature witnesses will give evidence on behalf of the Conservation Coalition, a group of seven environmental organisations who have come together in a bid to halt progress on the links. They regard the site of significant importance to wildlife.

"The developers say that 250 indirect jobs, plus a £60million boost to the East Sutherland economy, would be delivered in the courses first 10 years.

"The inquiry in Clashmore near Dornoch, which is due to last at least four weeks, will hear evidence from a number of experts who will argue that the internationally important wildlife site is unsuitable for a golf course.

"The fate of the site will then lie with Scottish Ministers."

For the background to the golf course application, see our Environment / Coul Links page.

Read Rita Campbell's full report, and Susy Macaulay's report of the first day's proceedings,  in the Press & Journal.


We are part of the rapidly expanding worldwide Transition Towns movement. The Black Isle is a peninsula of about 100 sq miles ENE of Inverness in Scotland, UK.