Legendary golfer, Jack Nicklaus, has worked with teams from Nicklaus Design and FM Ury to redesign the eighth hole of his proposed golf course to protect ancient woodland at Ury Estate in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
The developers behind the transformation of Ury Estate have today announced that a number of measures have been taken to address issues raised by consultees during the planning process for its £80million golf development which has, as its centrepiece, a world-class 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course.
The golf course designers, working with independent environmental experts, have changed the orientation of the eighth hole to avoid mature trees and riverside habitats. The hole will now play west to east away from the ancient woodland on the banks of the River Cowie.
They are confident that they have come up with a solution which retains the character and movement of the course initially envisaged. The re-design will also mean that poor quality ash, sycamore and sitka spruce trees will be felled and additional indigenous trees will be planted to the south and west of the eight hole to form woodlands.
Following the planning application for the golf course and enabling housing development, FM Group has 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.
Although areas of ancient woodland will be removed, the topsoil from this will be spread over adjacent agricultural land which will subsequently be managed as ancient woodland. 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 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. In some areas, the sycamores are taking over and threatening this biodiversity and where this is happening, we will be felling those species.
“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 and create 200 new jobs.
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.
Mr 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.”
Nicklaus Design www.nicklaus.com/design