Stop Coul Links Golf Course


Save our SSSI​​


Details about the submitted planning applications

Coul Links & Embo beach facing north from non-SSSI tallest foredune with kidney vetch in foreground

An outline planning application (16/00053/SCRE) was revealed to the public by Highland Council on 21st December 2015. This application includes a red line boundary enclosing an enormous area of 322 hectares (805 acres). Given the much smaller size of an 18-hole golf course, Not Coul does not understand why this large application area is required. Given the history of many golf developments in Scotland and the UK, it could mean that future applications are planned for luxury housing, luxury hotels, a second golf course etc. The developers at Coul have stated that no other development is planned. Developers rarely reveal their long-term plans.

A full planning application and environmental statement, with a very large volume of supporting documents, was lodged with the Highland Council on Friday 29th September 2017.  It is formally described as Development of 18 hole golf course, erection of clubhouse, renovation of existing buildings for maintenance facilities, pro-shop, caddy hut, workshop, administration building, information booth, formation of new private access from C1026. The planning application reference is numbered 17/04601/FUL.

You can get direct access to the application, the environmental statement and supporting material by clicking here:

Please be aware. The documents are ordered by date of upload on to the Highland Council site. They are not in a logical sequence and at the top of the page they are mixed with letter-based comments on the proposal. Paper copies of the document set are held in the Highland Council office at Drummuie (Golspie) and in the Council Service Point in Dornoch. That is all. Not Coul has purchased its own hard copy, as well as digital files.

A comment (in our case an objection) must be made within 28 days of an advertisement of the application. There have been errors in the advertisement process and, as a result, the current final date for submitting an objection is 25th May 2018. This could change yet again. See the
Object page >> for more detail on how to object.

The development requires an EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment). A crucial early stage of the EIA process involves scoping, which defines the environmental sectors which must be assessed for impacts by golf development. These areas must be agreed with statutory consultees (particularly Scottish Natural Heritage and Scottish Environmental Protection Agency) and covered by the output of the EIA process, the Environmental Statement. Assessment must also be compliant with relevant national and international legislation.

Second planning application

Surprisingly, a second Coul-related planning application was made in late October. This is for a reservoir outside the SSSI to supply water to the golf development. This seems contrary to EIA Regulations, which require all elements of an application to be present to allow full assessment of all effects. Details can be found on the Highland Council website, http:/     searching on application reference 17/04404/FUL. See our Object page for more details of making an objection. There is good information available in objections lodged already.