£80million golf development near Aberdeen finally ready to press ahead with plans
Long-standing plans to build a new Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course near Aberdeen are finally back on track.
The £80million golf development at the Ury Estate stalled after a string of objections were lodged against it by various government agencies, including the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, Historic Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Forestry Commission Scotland, all of whom
raised concerns about its design.
However, working with independent environmental experts, the developers behind the transformation of the estate, FM Group, have announced that a number of measures have been taken to address those issues.
They include a change in the orientation of the eighth hole, which will now play west to east away from ancient woodland on the banks of the River Cowie, avoiding mature trees and riverside habitats.
FM Group have also undertaken an independent study into the impact on woodland and produced a management plan to protect the woods and wildlife in the area during and after construction.
A total of 1,000 new trees have already been planted on the estate with around 2,000 more proposed around the golf course and the enabling housing development as part of what has been labelled a ‘comprehensive woodland management programme for the estate’.
Jonathon Milne, director of FM Group, said: “We are very sensitive to the natural environment. Ury is fortunate to contain a huge amount of biodiversity and we want to protect that.
“Our team of specialists has been working incredibly hard to listen to the consultees and fully understand the issues raised. We are confident that we are dealing with them all comprehensively and to the satisfaction of the majority of the consultees involved.
“We are particularly grateful to Jack Nicklaus and his team for redesigning the eighth hole so that we will have minimal impact on the woodland around this part of the course.”
An independent socio-economic impact report, by EKOS, commissioned for the planning application, revealed that the proposed championship golf course and associated housing development will generate £55.5million into the Aberdeenshire economy over a 15-year period, creating 200 new jobs in the process.
The £80million investment in the golf course and 90 high-end homes are at the heart of the overall transformation of Ury Estate, which will see the restoration and conversion of Ury Mansion House into a luxury hotel and clubhouse, a mix of high-quality, traditionally built, affordable and luxury housing, improved access, infrastructure and landscaping.
Milne added: “This much-anticipated golf development will really put Stonehaven on the map, attracting tourists and boosting business in the town. It is the final piece in the jigsaw for the Ury Estate development and an intrinsic part of the overall viability of the estate.”
Plans for a golf course at Ury Estate have been in the pipeline for years. First announced in July 2007, the course was originally slated for opening in 2009 before being shelved during the recession. At the time, Nicklaus said that the finished course would be ‘something that is fun and enjoyable’.