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Green light for new visitor accommodation and facilities

25th June 2021

A range of developments to support the visitor economy in Aberdeenshire have been approved by the Cairngorms National Park Authority planning committee today (Friday 25 June).

A small touring caravan park has been given the go ahead in Dinnet, while redundant farm buildings are to be converted into self-catering visitor accommodation near Strathdon. Temporary planning permission was also granted to turn a farm yard into a car park close to the Muir of Dinnet National Nature Reserve (NNR) to help address a lack of suitable parking locally.

The application to form a caravan park with eight pitches, hot tubs, decking and other associated developments on a field on the south of the River Dee at Dinnet was approved to support the growing popularity in caravanning and camper-vanning post lockdown. The small scale site will be run under a Caravan & Motorhome Club certification and was deemed by planning officers to be appropriate for this rural location as well as contributing to supporting the local economy.

At Glendeskry in Strathdon the conversion and extension of redundant farm buildings will give visitors to the area another holiday accommodation option. The development will see the conversion, alteration and extension of three existing redundant steadings to form four holiday lets and a multi-use, open space building.

It was approved by members with the condition that a photographic survey of the existing buildings and structures be undertaken to ensure that a historic record of the former farm buildings exists.

Addressing planning committee members at the online meeting, Planning Officer Katie Crerar said: “The development comprises a group of redundant farm-related structures within a largely agricultural landscape and overall it is considered that the redevelopment of these buildings will be sympathetic and in keeping with its surroundings. It is a positive and useful way to bring these buildings back into use.”

An application to temporarily turn a farmyard into a car park with toilets and litter facilities at Dinnet was also approved, helping to improve access to paths and trails at Loch Kinord and the Muir of Dinnet NNR. Located just of the A93, the proposals also include car parking ticket machines and access improvements to the site. The development is proposed to help meet the added demand for parking in the area with problems arising at peak times.

Speaking at the meeting, Head of Planning & Communities at the CNPA, Gavin Miles said: “When the first lockdown was lifted last summer there were impacts on the Muir of Dinnet Nature Reserve from high visitor numbers, including parking on verges and wild camping around Loch Kinord. Insufficient formal toilet facilities for the number of visitors also resulted in antisocial behaviours around the Loch. If visitors to the Loch can be encouraged to park in one place, then damage to the Nature Reserve could potentially be limited through controlling routes of access and improving the ability to message visitors about appropriate use of the area.”

Dr Gaener Rodger, Planning Committee Convener commented: “Growing demand for a variety of different types of visitor accommodation, and associated facilities to better manage for visitors when they are here, has certainly been the theme of today’s meeting. Covid-related holiday patterns mean that we need to ensure that we are giving careful consideration to these types of applications to help the Park’s economy recover but not at the expense of the Park’s special qualities. All the applications before us today are well thought out and worthy of our support.”

Also at today’s CNPA Planning Committee meeting, a new housing development in the village of Cromdale, near Grantown-on-Spey was approved. The18 properties, including eight affordable homes and associated infrastructure will be built on an area of undeveloped agricultural land which has been allocated for housing in the newly adopted Cairngorms National Park Local Development Plan (LDP).

To read the planning committee papers in full please go here.