• Councillors voted 45 to 20 in favour despite nature concerns
• In planning, almost half of the 90 homes sat on ancient woodland
JACK NICKLAUS | URY ESTATE | STONEHAVEN
Jack Nicklaus has dispelled environmental fears surrounding his luxury £80m resort near Stonehaven after the project was finally given the go-ahead - despite the loss of an ancient woodland.
Aberdeenshire councillors voted 45 to 20 in favour of the resort at the Ury Estate, designed in conjunction with FM Group, which will contain a championship golf course, clubhouse, hotel and 90 five-bedroom homes.
"We as golfers want to protect and enhance the environment" - Jack Nicklaus
However, in planning, more than 40 of the homes – which are required to help fund the course – sat on ancient woodland dating back to the 18th century, with Aberdeenshire Council, Woodland Trust Scotland and the Forestry Commission all raising their concerns.
But councillors eventually agreed to the project, which will reportedly generate £55m for the local economy as well as create 200 jobs, leaving 18-time major winner Nicklaus thrilled with the outcome and keen to allay fears about any environmental damage the building of the resort could cause.
“We look forward to creating a great golf course for Ury Estate, one that complements and celebrates the history of the region,” said Jack Nicklaus. “We hope the golf course will be an enormous source of pride for the community, and provide a golf experience at Ury Estate that will not only enhance tourism and strategic growth, but will absolutely protect and even enhance the existing environment that is so uniquely special there.
“Nicklaus Design has done close to 400 golf courses in 41 countries, and with each and every one, we work closely and carefully with nature. What some people call environmental restrictions, we call environmental opportunities. We always try to impose the highest environmental standards, even when not necessary, because 10 years from now, we want everyone to consider us good stewards of the land.
"The reason we play golf is the game provides us an opportunity to connect with nature and enjoy it. We as golfers love the environment; we want to protect it and enhance it.”
Jonathon Milne of the FM Group added: “We are thrilled at today’s outcome. It’s great news for us, for the estate, for Stonehaven and for the region’s economy and profile.
“We are committed to creating something truly special at Ury with the mansion house and golf course at its heart. We are looking forward to getting started and to demonstrating how we will dramatically enhance the area, protecting and improving woodland and wildlife for everyone.”
The Nicklaus Design website says ‘Ury Estate is set to become one of the most select golf residential-resort communities in the world’. It will be one of only 25 courses to be part of the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club family, with up to 35 associate members also able to play at other Jack Nicklaus Golf Clubs.
The plans have now gone back to the area committee to be ratified and, as soon as that happens, FM Group will put together a programme with start and completion dates.
Jack Nicklaus at Ury Estate :: Your thoughts
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