THE population of an Inner Hebridean island has increased by almost 50 per cent after an Australian hedge fund millionaire recruited an army of workers to build a luxury golf course resort.

Jura, which has a population of about 190, has been boosted by the arrival of 85 contractors from Ireland to work on Greg Coffey’s £50 million development of a private estate.

Sydney-born Mr Coffey, 45, who retired four years ago after making £430m from his trading deals, is currently renovating Jura House and old farm buildings on his 12,000-acre Ardfin Estate into luxury accommodation.

About 20 workers have the job of creating a world-class 18-hole golf course with the others involved in improving the rest of the estate.

The owner of the island’s only hotel and a local shopkeeper described the arrival of the workforce as good for business.

Andy McCallum, who runs the Jura Hotel, said: “No other person would have invested what Greg Coffey is investing in this island.

“There are probably more people up there than at Craighouse [the island’s main village]. 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 still 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.”

Chris Lamb, who runs Jura’s community store, said trade was good, with the contractors and workers using the shop regularly.

He said: “When this course is finished it is going to be in the top 10 courses in the world.

“The plans for Jura House are in the post office. It’s 30,000 sq ft, it’s absolutely massive, superb, like a top hotel.

“There is an 82ft-long pool, a music room, a games room. They took both ends off the house and they have added a wing half the size again.”

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.”

SOL Golf based in County Cork is the main contractor for the course. It has worked on projects including Donald Trump’s course in Aberdeenshire and at world No 3 golfer Rory McIlroy’s home in Northern Ireland.

Among Jura’s regular visitors is Prime Minister David Cameron and his family. His wife Samantha’s stepfather, Viscount Astor, owns a six-bedroom cottage there where they have previously spent part of their summer holidays.