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Developer launches ‘Coul Collective’ and calls for local businesses to become involved

The developer behind the planned £20 million Coul Links Hotel is building up a preferred supplier list.

Edward Abel Smith has launched the Coul Collective and is hoping local business people and trades will put their names forward to become part of it.

Mr Abel Smith, owner of Coul Links, announced in January his plan to build lodge style accommodation on his land to service the Coul Links golf course – should it get the go-ahead.

An original plan for a championship golf course at Coul Links was thrown out by Scottish ministers in February 2020 despite being backed by Highland Council.

Now community group Communities For Coul (C4C) has resurrected the project and Mr Abel Smith is working in tandem with the organisation.

The launch of the Coul Collective earlier this month was run by the Highland Business Partnership, a new initiative that provides businesses with a platform to establish new connections and support each other.

Mr Abel Smith said he aimed to build up a preferred supplier list for the proposed Coul Links Hotel, which would be sited on farm land overlooking Coul Links and would comprise a number of traditional and locally designed luxury eco-lodges

The Highlands are a special place and the locals second to none. 

Greetings from Dave Lemoine, an American who has been coming to the Highlands for 30 years.

I strongly support the safe and ecologically friendly development of a golf course at Coul Links. The Highlands are a special place and the locals second to none.

My wife and I rented a home in Dornoch for a month to experience Scottish life. We cherish that vacation amongst our finest over 50 years. More recently, I’ve been an annual visitor to Royal Dornoch Golf Club where I hold an international membership. While unable to visit last year because of COVID restrictions, I am hopeful that Scotland opens up by midsummer, at least for those of us who have been vaccinated.

Tourists and golfers visiting the Highlands are good for the local economy, jobs, small businesses, restaurants and the prosperity of your area. A well designed golf course will protect and preserve the sensitive seaside areas for lifetimes.

I encourage the prudent development of Coul Links for the benefit of the Scottish people and its spectacular geography.

Dave Lemoine, age 73, USA

The communities of the Sutherland area will diminish further and ultimately cease.

As  long term visitors to the Dornoch area we are fully aware that without investment, jobs and a viable future, the communities of the Sutherland area will diminish further and ultimately cease. You have to give a reason for young people to want to stay in an area and have the financial incentives to do so. We believe that building a new golf course at Coul Links will provide part of that vital infrastructure that would enable the local area to thrive by bringing new jobs and new visitors to the area.

Howard Milligan (age 59) & Karen Goodall (age 54), Manchester

I am a golfer, a nature lover, and I support Coul Links.

I was born and brought up in this area and was lucky enough to spend my teaching career here. I am a golfer, a nature lover, and I support Coul Links.

Having worked for many years with junior golfers I have watched their love of the game lead many to greenkeeping positions throughout the Highlands and worldwide.

But this is not just about golf – through its investment our area, an environmentally sympathetic golf course at Coul brings the potential to provide our youngsters with wider opportunities to find employment and develop careers.

Sheila Robertson, age 66, Golspie KW10

Provide ambitious young people, like myself, with a proper career and a reason to stay in Dornoch.

I am a supporter of the proposed Coul Links development. As a young person in the area I have struggled in the past to find a job which wasn’t in Inverness. This has meant I have taken jobs locally before which have not had me on the career path that I would like to pursue. I feel jobs within a golf course have more longevity and would provide ambitious young people, like myself, with a proper career and a reason to stay in Dornoch. Currently I am not finding those opportunities and many of my peers have left the town to find more prosperous jobs elsewhere.

Anna Simpson, age 22, IV25

The Guardian

Renewed Highland golf course plan has environmentalists crying ‘Fore!’

Scottish government rejected a new links at Coul to protect the complex dune system but investors have revived the scheme. It is an area so tranquil that the notion of bitter dispute is hugely anomalous. The serenity of Coul – in east Sutherland, north of Dornoch – is in fact fundamental to a backdrop of unrest.

Read the full article

The Scotsman

Leading economist says new Scottish government guidance could pave way for golf course approval as pandemic highlights need for ‘crucial’ investment.

A leading economist believes new Scottish government guidance highlighting the need to tackle rural depopulation and the effects of the pandemic on tourism, could pave the way for a revived Coul Links golf course bid to get the go ahead.

Read the full article

I want to bring people to the Highlands to show them the history of golf in the area

In 2019 I came over from the United States and worked at Royal Dornoch for just over 3 months. During my time in the area, I got to visit the site at Coul Links and thought the property was magnificent. COVID permitting I will be returning to the Highlands this summer for the Carnegie Shield at Royal Dornoch, and to play some of the awesome surrounding golf courses. Being 20 years old and one of the younger American members at the club, I am planning on a lifetime of golf in the Scottish Highlands. As I get older, I want to bring as many people as I can to the Highlands to show them the beauty and the history of golf in the area.

The addition of Coul Links would give tourists more reason to visit the Highlands and plan extended golf trips. I hope for the day where I can visit that property again, but next time as a world-class golf course.

Noah Sparrow. Age 20. USA

A golf course is the absolute best way to environmentally preserve land!

As an American I travel to your area as often as I can (twice a year usually). I am a Struie member of Royal Dornoch and overseas member of Brora. I believe the economy could use a boost and another golf course would not only do that but a golf course is the absolute best way to environmentally preserve land!

Please have a Coore & Crenshaw design. Their courses are stunning. Mike Keiser is a worldwide attraction as well but that ship may have sailed.

Good Luck!

Greg Ryan
Atlanta, GA

We all had to move for work as jobs were few

I fully support this second application for a world class golf course at Coul links and hope it gets the backing from the powers that be. Having this opportunity on our door step to provide so many jobs for our younger people and bring in much needed money to our area can’t be missed out on.

I moved here over twenty years ago from a small village in Moray. In a school class of 17 children not one us now stay there, we all had to move for work as jobs were few. Golspie is bigger but keeping our youth in and around our villages in employment is massive for all communities to survive and develop. We have some wonderful golf courses in the surrounding areas and having Coul Links as a championship built course would further enhance the reputation of golf in the area.

John Smith. Age 55. KW10