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Cover comes off £10 million Fife links golf course proposal

June 21, 2013

Proposals for a £10 million golf development comprising an 18-hole traditional links golf course, club house, landscaping and access at Dumbarnie Links in East Fife were presented to local Largo Area Community Council this week.

If granted consent, the project will be capital-led with no requirement for housing or other enabling 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. During his professional career, Clark won five European tour events and came third in the British Open at Hoylake in 1967. As a golf commentator, he has covered thirty British Open Championships. Since retiring from professional golf, Clark has been closely involved with top quality golf course design for more than twenty years and has designed 30 golf courses to date.

With his long-time design partner and fellow BBC commentator Peter Alliss, Clive Clark has designed many award-winning courses in the United Kingdom including the Championship Melbourne Course at Brocket Hall in Hertfordshire, Manor House Golf Club in Wiltshire, listed as one of the top 100 golf courses in the UK, and Herons' Reach near Blackpool, home of the PGA Northern Championship. He was also involved in designing the Marquess Course at Woburn, home of the British Masters until 2002. In Spain, Clark has co-designed Alcaidesa, a traditional links course overlooking the western Mediterranean, Gibraltar and North Africa and named one of the best 20 Links courses in Europe by Golf World Magazine in 2011.

Clark has family roots in Scotland, his grandparents on his father's side having come from Aberdeen.

The developers behind the Dumbarnie Links proposal are a group of business investors who are keen golf enthusiasts. They predict the development 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.

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. The developers are aiming to attract golf tourists from beyond Fife, including international golfers. They view the creation of a top quality traditional links course at Dumbarnie Links as an opportunity to retain visiting golfers in the Fife area for longer, helping to boost the local golf tourism industry and economy. It is expected that visitors to the course would make extensive use of local accommodation, shops and other services and amenities during their stay.

The proposed clubhouse would have a footprint of approximately 500 square metres. Facilities would include a professional shop, changing rooms and a restaurant.

Measuring around 132 hectares and located to the east of Lower Largo and south-west of Colinsburgh, the proposed site of the development is part of the Balcarres Estate. It is currently farmland and predominantly used for animal grazing.

A detailed environmental impact assessment is being prepared as part of the planning application process. The site lay-out will be designed specifically in order to minimise any impact on the Fife coastline or other environmentally sensitive areas adjacent to the site.

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.

Prior to submitting a planning application in the autumn, the developer plans to carry out a comprehensive consultation programme with the local community. This will include a series of public exhibitions to be held locally in late August as well as individual briefings with a range of local groups and organisations.

One of the principals behind the project and Communications Consultant to the developers, Dumbarnie Links Golf LLP, is Lower Largo based author and golf writer, Malcolm Campbell.

Commenting on the proposed development, Mr. Campbell said:

"The Dumbarnie Links proposal is a really exciting opportunity for the Kingdom of Fife to build further on its status as a world class destination for golfers looking to enjoy traditional links golf.

"If consent is granted, we estimate that the development could boost the local economy by around £2 million per year, creating up to thirty permanent jobs and supporting many more.

"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."

Malcolm Campbell concluded:

"If the development gets the go ahead, we want to ensure that the Dumbarnie Links project becomes an important and integral part of the local economy and community. Before we submit a planning application in the autumn, we are keen to hear the views of the local community about our proposals. We will be hosting public exhibitions in the local area in late August, providing detailed information about the proposed development. We look forward to talking to interested members of the local community at those events and to receiving their comments and feedback."

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