Plan aims to empower Applecross residents
AFFORDABLE housing, tourism planning and the need for sustainable development are all included in a new planning strategy aimed at supporting the development of a rural Wester Ross community.
After six months of work, the parties involved in the Plan It Applecross (PAS)initiative have produced the Applecross Community Land Use Plan, which aims to address specific local issues in the area.
The plan will be submitted by Highland Council to the Ross and Cromarty Committee in autumn for it to be endorsed as a “material planning consideration for development management purposes”.
If successful, it will eventually be endorsed to the Scottish Government for adoption as Statutory Supplementary Guidance, which would give it equal status to the Local Development Plan.
The project was initiated by Applecross Community Company and was developed in collaboration with key stakeholders such as landowner Applecross Trust, Highland Council and Applecross Community Council (ACC) and through planning charity PAS.
Roslyn Clarke from the ACC, said: “We felt the need to address issues affecting the community and seek for long-term solutions and, after consultations with Applecross Trust and other parties involved we decided that we needed to call in a professional planner.
“During a survey we issued in 2018, housing came out as a prime problem, so the need to work with the trust to find locations where to create affordable housing that would meet the needs of the community was very important. At the same time, due to the increase of the tourism industry in the area we wanted to develop a strategy for this sector.
“The community really helped with developing the project, it was a really positive experience and gained a lot of momentum, with a lot of people working in the same direction, and it represents a big step for the community.
Plan It Applecross included a series of workshops to involve the community.
Development officer for PAS, Rob Piggot, said: “It was very interesting to work in a rural area, which has very specific needs related to its being isolated and, therefore, bringing in elements of self-sufficiency. At the same time, the tourist boom has pushed the existing infrastructures to their limits, and they are inadequate for such a big flow of visitors: sustainable long-term solutions are needed.”
More details are available at www.applecrosscommunity-company.org/index.asp?pageid=695244