Dubrovnik authorities have approved a controversial one-billion-euro project to build a golf complex on a hill above the famous medieval Croatian city, a council spokesman said on Wednesday, despite fierce opposition from some locals.
Critics have raised environmental concerns over the development on a site, and also said that the modern project is incompatible with the architecture of the city, a UNESCO world heritage site.
The project, backed by Australian former world number one golfer Greg Norman, aims to build two golf courses, two hotels, 240 villas and 400 apartments on 310 hectares (766 acres) of the land.
Construction on the project — the brainchild of Israeli businessman Aaron Frenkel — could begin later this year.
Those supporting the scheme say it will result in the creation of local jobs and provide a boost to the tourism industry. Norman, who won two Majors, is to open a golf academy at the project site, local media reported.
Some 100 protestors had gathered outside Dubrovnik’s city hall to voice their opposition and carried banners which read “Srdj is ours” in reference to the name of the land where the complex will be built.
The newest member of the European Union, Croatia hosts more than 11 million tourists yearly, almost triple of its population of 4.2 million.