The financier known as the Wizard of Oz, Greg Coffey, is understood to have decided not to go ahead with his £20 million golf course on the Ardfin Estate he owns on the Isle of Jura, due to obstruction from SNH.
The golf course would have brought at least 5 full time jobs to this beautiful isolated island – and would have added to the golfing portfolio offered by the twin isles of Islay and Jura, with a few minutes of ferry ride between them.
It would have enabled unused agricultural land to be managed with a return to a more natural habitat. Instead the land will continue to deteriorate and will be colonised with bracken, the sign of neglect.
While the question if his closure to the public of the lovely Jura House gardens is a sore one with an economic impact on the island, Mr Coffey is investing an enormous amount into Jura which will have considerable economic benefit for the community.
It is difficult to understand why SNH are taking their stance without local consultation on the economic future of the island. This is locally thought to be especially odd when such a development would improve the landscape of the island.
Dhuirachs have noted that some years ago SNH published a report suggesting housing in the same area.
It is a moot point of the classical ‘chicken and egg’ variety as to whether the ability to live in a place or reasons for doing so should first be facilitated.