Cairngorms National Park

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Community hospital for Aviemore gets go ahead

22nd February 2019

A new £15 million community hospital to service Badenoch & Strathspey residents and visitors has been granted planning permission today (Friday 22 February). Meeting in Aviemore this morning, the Cairngorms National Park Authority planning committee approved the application from NHS Highland subject to various conditions.

The hospital – which will include a GP practice, public dental service, an urgent care centre, outpatients department, inpatients ward, community health and care departments and a mortuary – is to be built on a 3.49 hectare site off Aviemore’s Dalfaber Drive, between the main railway line and the Strathspey Steam Railway line.

Addressing committee members today, Gavin Miles, Head of Planning & Communities at the CNPA said: “We consider that the proposals for a new community hospital comply with all the relevant policies in the Cairngorms National Park Local Development Plan and a modern health care facility is much needed in the area. The building has been designed to fit well in the site with attractive external finishes to complement the surrounding landscape. While road and pedestrian safety concerns exist – and there will be some habitat and tree loss – with suitable conditions attached to the permission, these issues can be overcome.”

One of the key issues in assessing the planning application for a new hospital has been around how people can access the facility on foot or by bike safely, with the applicant and planners both agreeing that infrastructure that supports and encourages people to be active is of key importance. The Active Aviemore project, supported by funding from Sustrans, has already been working towards this with local studies and consultations on how to improve active travel facilities across the town.

Georgia Haire, NHS Highland’s project director for the redesign said: “NHS Highland welcomes the approval of the planning application by the Cairngorms National Park Authority for the new Badenoch and Strathspey Hospital. This is another key project milestone and follows closely to the purchase of the land last week.

“Discussions between NHS Highland, CNPA and The Highland Council around active travel connections to the new hospital are progressing positively and NHS Highland are happy to be involved as part of the partnership that will implement the first stages of the Active Aviemore Plan.”

Planning Committee Convener, Eleanor Mackintosh commented: “This is an excellent planning application and I know that a great deal of time and work has gone into getting this application to committee – and while there are still some areas of concern – I am more than happy to support the recommendation to approve. A health care facility like this will be a real asset for the area.”

To read the planning paper in full click here