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Dalmore Farm retail development plans for Alness in Easter Ross get the go-ahead; Development described as 'mini House of Bruar' could also tap NC500 route providing business spin-off for the area


By Scott Maclennan

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Architects' impression of proposed new shopping and cafe venture at Alness
Architects' impression of proposed new shopping and cafe venture at Alness

MAJOR plans for an Easter Ross retail development described as "a massive financial investment" for the farming family behind it have been given the go-ahead.

The Dalmore Farm development – described by one councillor as "a mini House of Bruar" – could also help Alness tap visitors from the booming North Coast 500.

Set to bring three existing businesses under one roof with the inclusion of a cafe, animal petting enclosure and outdoor children's play area, the scheme will see the Wilson family return to the site where their business empire started.

Businesswoman Carolyn Wilson, who is also a councillor, and daughters Katie Christie and Jennie Wilson, got permission to build the brand new premises at the family’s Dalmore Farm, which is around a mile from the town centre.

The family will relocate three existing High Street businesses to the custom-built premises by May next year.

Jennie Wilson, Katie Christie, Aimee Grant (4) and Lucy Christie (6) on the land that is going to be used for the family business on Dalmore Farm.
Picture: James Mackenzie
Jennie Wilson, Katie Christie, Aimee Grant (4) and Lucy Christie (6) on the land that is going to be used for the family business on Dalmore Farm. Picture: James Mackenzie

North planning applications committee chairwoman Maxine Smith said: “It is a massive investment by the applicant, they haven’t done it lightly. It is forward thinking, it is on the North Coast 500, it is going to capture all of that traffic. It is adventurous, it is exciting and I think it is a fantastic idea.

“It will be like a mini-House of Bruar or Brodie Countryfare and we know how busy those places are."

Around eight new jobs could be created as well as securing the long-term viability of the existing business in difficult economic times. It will include a larder, flower, clothes and craft shops and a cafe.

Mrs Wilson opened a small farm shop there in 1988 before expanding into four current High Street outlets.

Architects' impression of proposed new shopping and cafe venture at Alness
Architects' impression of proposed new shopping and cafe venture at Alness

Mrs Wilson said afterwards: “We are looking forward to getting started, we are on a very tight timescale and we have done an awful lot of work in the background, the family are all committed to it and looking forward to getting started.

"So it is great, it is a good bit of news, it is a huge investment for us as a family and we are committed to making this a high quality environment for people to come and visit. Hopefully it will attract people into the area.

“We have been overwhelmed with the positive comments we have received from the local community and customers, it is very reassuring we have got so much enthusiastic support.”

Related: Alness family reveals plans to bring business under one roof at new development

Alness High Street must dig deep amid coronavirus challenge



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