Plans for 18-hole development in North East, designed by ‘Golden Bear’, move closer
By Michael McEwan
The much-anticipated Jack Nicklaus golf course in Aberdeen has moved a step closer to finally being realised after Aberdeenshire councillors backed plans for the £80m development.
Plans by FM Group for an 18-hole course designed by the 18-time major winner, pictured, as well as 90 new homes at the Ury Estate, near Stonehaven, were scrutinised by the council’s Kincardine and Mearns area committee.
They have recommended that the development be authorised at a future meeting of the full council, despite objections from planning chiefs who are concerned at the environmental impact of the work. They are particularly worried over the impact that it will have on ancient woodland around the proposed site.
Committee chairman Carl Nelson recommended full council support for the plans, saying that it promised to deliver ‘something really special’ for the North East. However, senior council planner Neil Mair noted that it would result in the loss of ‘almost half’ of the ancient trees at Slicewells Wood.
Stonehaven and District councillor Peter Bellarby told The Press & Journal: “I put it to this meeting that there are exceptional circumstances that justify the granting of planning permission. There are significant economic and social benefits coming out of this that outweigh the loss of the woodlands. What we have on offer here is a Jack Nicklaus golf course of which we have very few.”
Bellarby’s fellow councillor Graeme Clark added: “I have problems with losing iconic woodlands but I would say the overall potential of the golf course outweighs the loss of the woodlands.”
Plans for a golf course at Ury Estate have been in the pipeline for a number of years. First announced in July 2007, the course was originally slated to open 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’. The ‘Golden Bear’ has designed close to 300 golf courses around the world. The Ury Estate layout would be his second project in Scotland, following the PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles.