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So important to a beautiful but financially delicate area

My reasons for supporting the proposed development at Coul Links is that I believe this is so important to a beautiful but financially delicate area. Now, more than ever post COVID-19 and post Brexit, East Sutherland needs a sustainable source of income. For many years the area has not provided the opportunities young people need to stay, which has necessitated their emigration – often never to return.

In 2016, Visit Scotland reported that golf tourism was worth over £23M to the Highland economy and there were over 600 jobs linked to this. That shows the importance of golf tourism to the Highlands, but it also shows the potential for East Sutherland. That said, golf tourism is competitive, even within Scotland. East Sutherland has competition from St Andrews, Ayrshire, East Lothian and Aberdeenshire, amongst others, and the area needs a world class golf course at Coul Links to enhance the great courses that we have already and to create an attractive destination for tourists.

With this development, revenue throughout East Sutherland can be maximised. As it stands, many golfers visit East Sutherland but do not stay overnight. Visit Scotland reported that while visitors will spend around £60 on average per round of golf, they will spend 4 times that on food and accommodation if they stay.

This development will allow for the organic growth in infrastructure needed to ensure the social and economic wellbeing of East Sutherland and must be welcomed by everyone who has the welfare of our community at heart.

Andy Stewart, President, Brora Golf Club, Age 54