AN MSP who compared the Coul Links course golf bid to Donald Trump’s development says it is not game over for the US-backed resort.

Officials at Highland Council say councillors should reject the application for an 18-hole course near Embo in Sutherland. The scheme would encroach on a site of Special Scientific Interest and council officers said this would cause “significantly detrimental impact”.

This is despite arguments by the developers, including American businessmen Todd Warnock and Mike Keiser, that the facility would protect the land, boost the economy and provide jobs.

The Not Coul campaign group has backed the recommendation, as have conservation groups including RSPB Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland.

But Highlands and Islands Green MSP John Finnie says the multi-million pound development might still be approved by Highland Council’s North Planning Applications Committee on Tuesday.

Finnie, who compared the scheme to Trump’s Menie resort in Aberdeenshire in an exchange with Nicola Sturgeon in February, told The National: “The professional people have given their judgment on the worth of the case, which is based on evidence. However, it’s a decision for the elected members and they don’t always follow officers’ advice.

“I would hope that in something where so much hinges on evidence, they would follow that and reject it.”

More than 1600 objections were submitted to the local authority over the application.

Finnie said there was a risk of “history repeating itself” over the threat to protected sand dunes, as at Menie, where Scottish Natural Heritage confirmed plans to review whether special designation was still required. This follows works to the playing area and surrounding land. However, Warnock said his plan has “broad local support”.