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Highland Council have granted permission for work to begin on a multi-million-pound eco-hotel on the site of planned championship golf course, Coul Links.

As first reported by the Northern Times, the Highland Council has given the green light for work to start on four, four-bedroom lodges at Coul Farm, a short distance from the planned ‘world-class’ links.

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The £20m project is ‘entirely reliant’ on planning permission being granted for the golf course, and will feature four, four-bedroom lodges. The plans also feature a reception and breakfast building.

Edward Abel Smith, who owns the site and Coul Enterprises, said, “these plans have always been based on a new world-class golf course that would attract visitors from around the world being developed at Coul Links – and that remains the case.”

There are also plans for the site to expand to 20 lodge buildings, a venture that would create more than 40 jobs in the East Sutherland area.

The hotel’s plans have been drawn up by local architect Iain Levens, who told the Northern Times his plans demonstrate “cutting-edge sustainability.”

“While the lodge itself is built off walls with a solum avoiding any concrete floor slabs, the choice of a wildflower green roof adds several ecological benefits and becomes another area of natural habitat for flora and fauna with insects and invertebrates particularly suited to them,” he explained.

The long-running saga has been ongoing for nearly a decade.

In February 2020, Scottish Ministers refused planning permission for the course, which is set to be designed by Coore and Crenshaw, due to concerns over the environment which the course would be built on. This was despite local councillors backing the development.

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Proponents of the golf course say that the links, which is just to the north of Royal Dornoch, would only impact 0.1% of the SSSI area, and generate enough income to properly protect the site.

Earlier this month, a planning application was submitted to the Highland Council, which Communities for Coul, say addresses the concerns that saw the project initially rejected.

In a ballot held in 2021, almost 70% of local residents said they were in favour of the course getting the go-ahead.

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Lewis Fraser As bunkered’s Performance Editor, Lewis oversees the content that’s designed to make you a better player. From the latest gear to tuition, nutrition, strategy and more, he’s the man. A graduate of the University of Stirling, Lewis joined bunkered in 2021. Formerly a caddie at Castle Stuart Golf Links, he is a member of Bathgate Golf Club where he plays off four.

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