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Couple make fresh bid for holiday lodges on Black Isle after previous Highland Council knock-back

By Neil MacPhail

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Louise and Alan Innes.
Louise and Alan Innes.

A SECOND planning application for holiday accommodation at the Heights of Kilcoy near Muir of Ord is being considered by Highland Council, after a similar plan was rejected earlier this year.

Artist Louise Innes and husband Alan have applied to erect three holiday lodges and associated shared facilities for short term tourists lets on a grazing field at Drynie Park south of Cairnurenan.

The self-catering accommodation would have a communal cycle store,laundry, and parking facilities plus a small shop with office area to provide facilities for guests with an emphasis on locally sourced produce.

Two of the lodges will comprise of one bedroom, an open plan kitchen, and living area and shower facilities.The third lodge is designed specifically for disabled guests and includes a second bedroom for a carer if required.

Infrastructure includes the formation of a new vehicular access adjoining the public road.

A statement with the application points out that the refusal of the previous planning application was refused planning permission based on the fact that the proposal was considered to conflict with the terms of the Highland-wide Local Development Plan.

The statement adds: "Since that decision, the council has adopted up-to-date guidance for Rural Housing. This includes a specific section on tourist-based facilities.

"The revised proposal seeks to address the reasons for refusal and to demonstrate that the siting, location, and form of development proposed, involving three small holiday lodges only, is neither inconsistent nor inappropriate within an area that supports several houses, many occupying considerably greater areas of land than that now proposed.

"It is also an area where development is very evident all along the public road that defines Drynie Park."

Since acquiring the land, the couple have actively encouraged the development of a wildflower meadow, says the statement, and are in the process of setting up bee hives for honey production and an area to be developed as a small orchard, for the benefit of wildlife. The narrow width of the field limits the ability to use the land for crop production and the soil quality further limits opportunities for the production of crops.

Once established, chickens will be kept, with guests encouraged to collect their eggs.

The proposal is currently with Highland Council.

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