Planning application for Jura golf course to go to Council this month

Greg Coffey, the brilliant young Aussie financier who now owns the Ardfin estate on the Isle of Jura, may have seen his plans for a private but spectacular 18 hole golf course on the estate hit a bit of a stooshie over unfounded claims that Scottish Natural Heritage were being obstructive – but he seems to have won over local opinion.

The first card in his favo0ur is that a golf course, being low rise,  does not visually obstruct the landscape. Then the majestic and largely bare rock of the island is unlikely to offer problems with Tree Protection Orders.

The other and major magnet in the project is job creation. In an island with a population smaller than many remote villages and with its main centre, Craighouse, just such a place Рif redolent of timeless charm, jobs could  not matter more.

The planned course is set to create four jobs. That is not to be sneezed at.

While, at first glance, the plan to make it an entirely private course for the entertainment of Mr Coffey and his guests may seem a limited opportunity for economic development on the island, it is something of a Tardis. There is more opportunity behind it than is immediately apparent.

First up, if Mr Coffey is going to invest as strongly as this in his estate, it has every chance of seeing more of his own presence and that of his guests, who are likely to be high net worth individuals. This itself will generate more economic activity on Jura.

There is also much to be said for having a permanent connection with someone of real ambition, ideas, contacts and the ability to generate capital. Someone with Greg Coffey’s track record of fired success is not going to be on Jura with his mind in neutral, nor will his visiting friends, as they step onto the island, close their eyes to any opportunity that may suggest itself.

If the community and the council are supportive of this inherent ambition, much may come of it.

And some way down the road, if and when Mr Coffey’s has exhausted the potential of his Jura project and the call of the warmth and the surf of his homeland increases, the estate’s possession of a private and world class 18 hole golf course would be a major card in any later sale and in any consequent dcvelopment.

In the meantime, Mr Coffey is preeminently a businessman, Neither he nor his estate management is going to be slow in making the estate a viable and growing business.

Th Jura golf course project is not only a signal of Greg Coffey’s serious intentions for his estate but it is a sort of promissory note for Jura’s future.

2013 is starting well for this island.

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15 Responses to Planning application for Jura golf course to go to Council this month

  1. Newsroom: you mention “unfounded claims that Scottish Natural Heritage were being obstructive”. Your earlier report is the ONLY one I have found about these “unfounded claims”, so you should perhaps have written “unfounded claim”. I have asked you a couple of times to say where your information came from, but you have refrained from saying. Why can’t you tell us along with an abject apology for dumping on SNH?

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  2. But it’s not all positive, is it? As a former frequent visitor to Ardfin and its garden I’ve no longer such a strong reason to go to the island. And that kind of feeling multiplied up means less trade for the hotel, shop and ferry, and probably more people choosing to go to Gigha instead.

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  3. Well we do not object to inflicting the colloquial upon Messrs. S.N.H. as we consider these proposals utterly abhorrant and rediculous. Their retreat from the defense of this wild,rugged and still relatively unpopulated island is reprehensible. This forum of inactivity will of course shortly require the obligatory ‘review’ and deprecating change of title or…oblivion.

    Anyway, Mr.[still just “Mr.”?!} Coffey may well be “brilliant” at persuading his more gullible fellow beings to surrender their wealth for his selfish benefit but this is not justification for defiling, on an opertunistic, financial whim, OUR Scottish Natural Heritage. Do you really know where you are going with this nonsense. Really — four jobs, four, no doubt QUALITY jobs such as cutting grass or servicing friends — big deal.

    For the sake of the land I reckon you can do better than that.

    Or GO AWAY and LEAVE IT alone… all alone.

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    • Are you sure you’re not over-reacting, Gordellan? Are you sure that the golf course will have much impact at all on the Jura landscape? Isn’t Ardfin one of the few patches of cultivated land?
      It really isn’t comparable to the officially lubricated outrage being perpetrated by Trump, is it?

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      • Robert, where the golf course is going is not cultivated ground. I am neither for nor against this course but it will have an impact on the landscape.

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        • James: the map on the A&B planning website shows that the boundary of the proposed golf course includes what appears to be all the cultivated ground of Ardfin Farm between the road and the sea, both east and west of Jura House.

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          • Haven’t seen the plans as such Alex, just the area proposed for it. All the cultivated land would restrict it to a very short course.

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  4. No. RW, thin edge of a large proverbial. What with marine “parks”, RIB fests, kayak trails [oooh, conflict there , then -- will they need separation lanes], lights, noise, etc., etc.,… action, play, play, play, spend, spend, spend. How come you can,anyway. A select, secluded pitch ‘n’ put?! Yeah. Come on — wakey, wakey.

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  5. Four jobs? Big deal – they will be menial jobs at best. It will be specialists who build the course not locals. Jobs have already been lost thanks to Herr Coffey turning perfectly good agricultural land into a playground for his pals. He has closed one of Jura’s attractions, namely the gardens. Does anyone really believe that the people who come to play this course – BY INVITATION ONLY – will bring any revenue to the island. Will Coffey buy his groceries at the local shop. Will he heck. He will be just another absentee landlord who doesn’t give a toss about the community.

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  6. Irena makes some good points, and Coffey and his guests will certainly not be buying their food at the Jura Stores, any more than the other absentee estate owners do!

    However, Mr Coffey is clearly planning to invest very heavily in the estate – not just on the golf course, but also on major renovations to the dilapidated Ardfin Farm buildings, and no doubt there will be significant improvements to Jura House too. After years of neglect, this has to be good news.

    We’ve seen the golf course plans, and indeed, stakes are already in the ground marking where the fairways are due to be laid out. It will not in any way damage the shape of the landscape around the house, which is currently a mixture of grazing and unimproved land.

    It was a pity that he closed the walled garden, however – that really was unnecessary, and lost him some goodwill from many people, though maybe not from many Jura residents. He could so easily have protected his privacy by opening the garden on a more restricted basis, maybe for charity under the umbrella of the Scottish Gardens Scheme.

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  7. So what happened? OK I’m a bit late with comment – sorry but hisOzzyship wold never have bought ardfin if he wanted to make money out of it – it will become a wonderful holiday home but for his (and his friends’ eyes only. Jura will see little benefit from him or his guests as they are unlikely to leave the confines of the estate and all their requirements will be shipped in from the mainland. Take a golf course manager out of the four extra jobs leaves three low value positions potentially but not necessarily for local recruits. Sorry but I don’t see the ‘new’ Ardfin becoming the saviour of the island,

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  8. The phrase ‘high net worth individuals’ makes me want to puke. Therein is why I find Mr Coffey and his golf course objectionable.

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