A third of a Scottish island’s population work on a golf course

Rosemary Ayim
By Rosemary Ayim August 17, 2016 11:52

A third of the entire population of the Scottish island of Jura work on a golf course that hasn’t even been built yet.

The Inner Hebridean island had a population of 190 prior to an Australian hedge fund millionaire announcing he was going to build a luxury golf course on it. Now it has nearly 300, and 85 of them are contractors from Ireland who are building the resort.

Banker Greg Coffey, 45, who is worth about £430 million, is spending £50 million developing the private estate.

Coffey is also renovating the Jura House and old farm buildings on his 12,000-acre Ardfin Estate into luxury accommodation. He attracted controversy in 2011 when he closed the estate’s public gardens, whose 2,500 visitors a year formed a significant source of income for Jura.

jura altair vega deneb

Jura House. Flickr / Altair Vega Deneb

About 20 workers are concentrating solely on the course, with the other 65 working on other areas of the resort,

Andy McCallum, who runs the Jura Hotel, said: “It’s almost a 50 per cent population increase for two years. People are really busy and the island at the moment is stretched to the limit. They have management meetings here at the hotel so there are architects and engineers coming to stay with us twice a month.

“There is a shortage of accommodation, so they have rented out some holiday homes and some of the workers are staying in one bedroom pods.”

Mr McCallum said it was unclear whether the development would be open to the public and added: “I don’t think anyone knows. They are unsure what the final set-up is going to be.”

Willie MacDonald, Ardfin estate manager, said no decisions had been made on its future uses. He said: “We are just concentrating on finishing it. With projects of this scale you can’t predict too much.”

Former prime minister David Cameron is a regular visitor to Jura and his wife Samantha’s stepfather, Viscount Astor, owns a six-bedroom cottage there where they have previously spent part of their summer holidays.

 

Rosemary Ayim
By Rosemary Ayim August 17, 2016 11:52
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