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£20 million investment planned for eco-hotel at Coul Links

I was delighted to have been contacted by a local community group – Communities for Coul – to say that they intended to resurrect the Coul Links golf application. I am pleased to give Communities for Coul my complete support and should they achieve planning permission, then I would fully back the construction of the golf course.

Independently I have been approached by a syndicate of private investors expressing interest in funding the erection of some accommodation on the Coul farmland which sits outside of the SSSI should the golf course be built. This is in anticipation for the vast increase in visitors coming to the area to play the new golf course.

Given the creation of Communities for Coul, I have decided to progress with a plan for accommodation in tandem. I am therefore in the process of submitting planning permission for a series of unobtrusive lodges to be built on the farmland overlooking the links, to form an eco-style hotel, Coul Links Hotel. At this point, we intend for each lodge to have four rooms, with a modest reception and breakfast building at the centre. If planning permission for the golf course is granted, phase one of the hotel with four lodges and sixteen rooms will be built.

The hotel will expand to twenty lodges and eighty rooms. The ambition for the hotel is to provide guests with an authentic and comfortable experience and will be aimed primarily at golfing visitors to the Coul Links Golf Course.

The initial surveys carried out by a leading Scottish surveying firm has advised that the investors should plan to spend £20 million to build the full hotel, which we are budgeting for.

It is our intention that the hotel should be a leader in the protection of the environment and therefore we have devised various schemes to this effect. These include a plan to offer to offset the emissions of the travel of all oversea visitors through appropriate and where possible native tree planting in the Highlands. We also intend to power part of the hotel through solar panels and are looking into providing car charging points to encourage electric vehicles.

It is anticipated that once running Coul Links Hotel will require over forty new jobs and we are currently working with various local institutions to look at ways of staffing the hotel with people from the Highlands. We also intend to serve fully local produce, so will also be looking to form partnerships with businesses in the vicinity.

We are in the process of working with local architects to finalise the design of the hotel and will be submitting a planning application for the first phase of the project imminently.

However, we will not start any form of construction until Coul Links Golf Course is approved. This is an example of the attractiveness a golf course at Coul Links has to investors, demonstrated not least but their willingness to progress with this scheme despite the current economic situation and the impact this has had on the hospitality industry. We continue to seek further investment to expand our plans further and should anyone be interested in
discussing this further, they should contact eabelsmith@coulenterprises.com.

For more information, please contact Edward Abel Smith – owner of Coul Farm and coordinator of the Coul Links Hotel.