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Affordable homes boost for Cairngorms National Park

11th August 2023

Two new housing developments in the Strathspey area of the Cairngorms National Park will deliver up to 33 new affordable homes after planning consent was granted today (Friday, 11 August) by the Cairngorms National Park Authority.

The site of the old primary school in Aviemore will see 12 new rental properties and associated infrastructure built, while a former station yard in Nethy Bridge is the location for up to 21 affordable homes.

The previous Aviemore primary school closed its doors to pupils in 2012, with the opening of a new facility nearby. The buildings were subsequently demolished, leaving a vacant brownfield site. The planning application from The Highland Council for the erection of 12 affordable units – including four ground floor, wheelchair accessible flats – was supported by the Park Authority’s Planning Committee after a vote which saw twelve votes to approve the application and two for refusal.

Recommending the application for approval, Stephanie Wade, Planning Officer with the Park Authority said: “Our policies support proposals which result in the sustainable reuse of brownfield land including vacant and derelict land, and this application is for 100 per cent affordable housing, which is good news for Aviemore – a community very much in need. While concerns have been raised about flooding, these issues can be addressed through the imposition of suitable conditions.”

Flooding issues threatened to derail a planning application from AW Laing for up to 21 affordable homes at Station Road, Nethy Bridge.  The application had been recommended for refusal by Park Authority planning officers due to outstanding objections from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and The Highland Council in relation to flood risk.

However, Planning Committee members unanimously voted to approve the application because they consider the applicant had demonstrated the site was free from flood risk.

Gaener Rodger, Convener of the Cairngorms National Park Authority Planning Committee commented: “I am delighted to see new affordable homes being built in the Cairngorms National Park. The Aviemore School site will bring this vacant, derelict site back into use while fulfilling a local need which will benefit the local community through the provision of social rental units and properties suitable for disabled occupants.

“While we fully acknowledge the advice and objections from SEPA and The Highland Council, the imposition of robust conditions will hopefully allow this much needed development of up to 21 affordable homes in Nethy Bridge to go ahead, although we know the application will now be referred to Scottish Ministers who will have the final say.”

To read the planning papers in full please visit the website here.