Coul Links planning application called in by Scottish Ministers

Scottish Ministers have decided to call in the planning application for the Coul Links golf course at Embo in the Highlands.

Planning consent is sought for the construction of an 18-hole golf course, along with the erection of a clubhouse, the renovation of existing buildings to form a maintenance facility, along with a pro shop, caddy hut, workshop, administration building, and information booth.

The Highland Council voted in June to approve a planning application for the development, which lies within the Loch Fleet site of scientific special interest (SSSI).

But the application was notified to Ministers due to an outstanding objection by Scottish Natural Heritage.

They then extended the period to consider whether or not to call in the application by a further 28 days in order to fully consider the application.

The extension came as the National Trust for Scotland called on the government to overhaul the planning system with its new Planning Bill.

The charity cited the Coul Links proposals alongside several new planning applications submitted to Highland Council to develop sites at Culloden, including one proposing 13 holiday lodges and a restaurant.

Planning minister Kevin Stewart said Ministers only intervene in the planning process in very exceptional circumstances and where issues of genuine national importance arise.

He added: “As planning minister, I have called in the application as the proposal raises issues of national importance in relation to natural heritage issues and its compliance with Scottish Planning Policy and requires further scrutiny. It is right that the decision is taken at the national level.

“As this is a live application, ministers cannot comment on the specific merits of the proposal. An independent reporter will now consider all the evidence relating to this case and provide a recommendation to Ministers who will make the final decision.”

Tags: Highlands

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