As the historical seat of modern golf, Scotland boasts a good level of golf tourism and it is no surprise that golf enthusiasts are looking to capitalise on this.
The Highland Council has recently been presented with a new planning submission for an 18-hole links golf course to be situated just north of the town of Embo, which is in Sutherland. The land owner, an entrepreneur and the Embo Trust have joined forces to develop the project, which will be known as Coul Links, and have high hopes for its success.
It is the construction site that holds the most interest, however. Approximately 14 acres of the course will be based on the Lock Fleet site of special scientific interest (SSSI); as a result, the project leaders have ensured that extensive and detailed ecological and hydrological ground surveys have been carried out. The developers suggest that the site environment will be enhanced by the work that will be undertaken as part of the development.
Site of Specific Scientific Interest
The planned golf course will be both inside and outside the Loch Fleet site of special scientific interest. It will have a footprint of 22.7 hectares; however, only 14.0 hectares will be inside the SSSI area. Natural England is the government body responsible for designating areas as SSSIs and will ensure that the land is being cared for correctly.
Businesses that seek to develop sites are always likely to be best advised to first obtain a report on the state of the land. If the land is already an SSSI, it is likely that Natural England can advise whether land remediation is required to regenerate the land and care for the nature on the site. The work carried out by remediation companies such as http://www.ashremediation.co.uk/ will be tailored to the specific needs of the site.
SSSI status confers legal obligations on the land owner to ensure that the land is being managed and protected. There are likely to be specific developments that are restricted, for which consultation with the SSSI body must take place before any development can be considered. As the Coul Links site has already undergone extensive surveys, it is likely that the body in charge of the SSSI has been consulted and will continue to be throughout the planning process.