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Communities for Coul (C4C) have announced that a public vote will take place between the 28th May and 11th June to ask the people of Brora, Dornoch, Embo and Golspie if they “support a community planning application for an environmentally sensitive, world class golf course to be built at Coul Links near Embo.”

The ballot is being run by Civica, the UK’s leading provider of ballot and election services, and all registered electors residing within the IV25, KW9 and KW10 postcodes will have the opportunity to vote. The outcome will provide the first ever definitive answer to the level of local support for the
creation of a world class golf course at Coul Links.

Gordon Sutherland, a Director of C4C commented:

“The first, business led application for a golf course at Coul Links was a rare opportunity for our beautiful but socio-economically challenged area. To now have on the table £50 million of private investment – almost 3 times the amount of public money earmarked for the Sutherland Spaceport – gives an unheard of second chance which we as a community must seize as we will never have another opportunity like this.

The economic benefits of creating Coul Links would ripple out to all the towns and villages of the Dornoch Firth and perhaps even beyond, giving opportunities to those that are able and willing to take them. As local people will be prioritised for the jobs that are created, this will give local youngsters more reasons to stay and raise families and help reverse the ongoing and serious depopulation of our area which, as things stand, is slowly but surely becoming a retirement home.

Dornoch is the most economically successful town in East Sutherland and this is predominately based on the desire of international golfers to play Royal Dornoch’s Championship course, one of the world’s greatest. Indeed, the fortunes of Dornoch have fluctuated as the popularity of its golf course have waxed, waned and waxed again over the years. As one of Dornoch’s more prominent business owners commented recently when discussing Dornoch’s relative prosperity: “… but it’s fragile – and not just because of Covid – its fragile, the fact we have a High Street and a vibrant community is fragile.”

Having a second golf course of a similar stature to Royal Dornoch would encourage more golfers to visit and more golfers to stay in East Sutherland, thereby helping grow the economies of Brora, Golspie, Embo and Tain and acting as an effective “insurance policy” for Dornoch’s economy. As Mike Keiser, the world renowned golf course designer who names Royal Dornoch as his inspiration, has said, “One course is a curiosity, two is a destination.”

If the outcome of the vote supports our belief that the quiet majority of East Sutherland residents are in favour of the golf course for both the environmental protection it would fund and the many sustainable jobs it would create, then we will consider that a mandate to proceed with preparing a full planning application.”

Andy Stewart, President of Brora Golf Club and a C4C Director added:

“A world class golf course at Coul Links would complement Royal Dornoch and, together with the excellent and historic golf courses at Golspie, Tain and my home course at Brora, has the potential to create a golfing destination of international renown that would attract high spending golf tourists to stay in our area, to the great benefit of our towns and villages.”