Major new course for Dumbarnie Links9th August, 2013 by Jenny Yu
Planning permission for a major new 18-hole pay-and-play golf development on farmland at Dumbarnie Links in East Fife, Scotland is about to be sought.
The £10 million development would represent another top new golf course for the country, despite its national golf union’s call for no more courses to be built due to an over-supply.
However, the proposals, submitted by Dumbarnie Links Golf LLP, a company set up by an anonymous group of business investors, have led to questions being asked in the local community. Many residents are unhappy that a new course is being built in an area known for being an important habitat for rare plants and invertebrates, and some are concerned that they do not know who is behind the scheme.
Even at a recent council meeting about the proposals, Dumbarnie Links Golf LLP’s planning consultant said he could not divulge any of the identities of the investors, but did say they have experience of developing other golf courses.
Local resident Tricia Wood said: “We are aware that 12 months of building is going to wreak havoc in an incredibly sensitive area.
“The people investing are going to make a fortune and the estate is going to make a fortune so why are you not allowed to tell us who they are?”
David Jenkins, who lives near the Dumbarnie Links site, said: “There are at least six golf courses within a five mile radius and I understand from people who play golf that they are struggling.”
Sandra Deas added: “I believe passionately that Dumbarnie Links should be left as they are. I think it would be a great shame if one of the last places left was built on as a golf course.”
If granted consent, the project will be capital-led with no requirement for other development to support it.
The proposed golf course will be designed by former Ryder Cup and European Tour player and BBC television commentator Clive Clark.
A spokesman for the developers said the project could support around 50 jobs during the construction phase and, once opened, create up to 30 permanent jobs.
“The development is also likely to support many more jobs in caddying, hospitality and more generally in the local tourism industry. Initial estimates indicate that the development could boost the local economy by around £2 million per year,” he said.
“It is expected that the proposed development would actively increase the biodiversity value of the site by enhancing existing structure landscaping, increasing indigenous flora and fauna such as gorse and broom, and creating new habitats for local wildlife.”
The course would have no members’ club attached to it and would be open to the public to play on a daily green fee basis, which would cost about £100 each. The developers are aiming to attract golf tourists from beyond Fife, including international golfers.
Prior to submitting a planning application this autumn, the developer plans to carry out a consultation programme, involving a series of public exhibitions, with the local community towards the end of this month.
Dumbarnie Links Golf LLP’s communications’ consultant is golf writer, Malcolm Campbell. He said: “The Dumbarnie Links proposal is a really exciting opportunity for Fife to build further on its status as a world class destination for golfers looking to enjoy traditional links golf.
“The proposed golf course has the potential to be a world-class addition to Scotland’s collection of classic links courses. Clive Clark is a world-renowned golf course designer with a keen knowledge and respect for the history and origins of the game. I know he is as excited as we are about the prospect of creating a pure links golf course on a beautiful stretch of Fife coastline.
“Everyone involved is committed to minimising the impact of any development on environmentally sensitive areas in the vicinity of the project site. Clive has a well-founded reputation for working closely with nature and for being particularly sensitive to environmental issues.
“It is also important to emphasise that a golf course of this nature offers a unique opportunity to enhance the habitat for local flora, fauna and wildlife as an integral part of the development.”