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 on the Highland Council website 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.

It is now too late to object. The planning application was recommended for refusal by Highland Council planning officers but was approved by the Council's Northern Planning Applications Committee in June 2018. There was an outstanding objection by a statutory consultee (Scottish Natural Heritage), requiring the Council to inform Scottish Ministers. A major further campaign was launched by wildlife NGO's, Not Coul and individuals, requesting the Scottish Government to call-in the application. This was achieved on 24th August 2018, the government recognising that this case involves issues of national importance. A detailed public examination will now take place. See the
Inquiry page here for details.

Second planning application

Surprisingly, a second Coul-related planning application was made in late October 2017. 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. This application has also been approved by The Highland Council (June 2018). At the moment it is not certain if it will form part of the forthcoming public examination.