£25m visitor centre and hotel plan for Ben Nevis

An artist's impression of the new 25 million pound development near Ben Nevis. Picture: Contributed
An artist's impression of the new 25 million pound development near Ben Nevis. Picture: Contributed
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A £25 million visitor resort, including a “world-class” five-star hotel, is being planned in the shadow of Britain’s highest mountain.

Forestry Commission Scotland and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) have produced a plan for Leanachan, Fort William, next to Ben Nevis.

The visitor centre will also include a 5-star hotel. Picture: TSPL

The visitor centre will also include a 5-star hotel. Picture: TSPL

Proposals include a resort hotel, low-impact alternative tourist accommodation and a campsite all located in an enhanced woodland setting.

Local businesses and communities are now being invited to give their feedback.

Robert Grant, part of the Forestry Commission team managing the project, said: “We’ve established good links and a robust feedback process with key stakeholders and the wider community, who are keen to get involved with these developing proposals.

“We’re aiming for a resort hotel that complements, rather than competes with, existing provision in the area and consultation has highlighted a general agreement with the principle of a resort complex.

“The majority of participants would welcome the facilities and the additional tourist numbers that it could bring.”

He added: “We’re still listening, though, and have already taken onboard the feedback we’ve received.

Leanachan covers 7,300 acres of national forest land and is a draw for tourists.

The area provides access to the Nevis Range and helped Lochaber gain Outdoor Capital of the UK status.

Chris Taylor, head of tourism at HIE, said: “It is important that local people have their say as this project has the potential to substantially increase visitor numbers and strengthen the economy of the wider Lochaber area.”

The joint project is being viewed as a 20-year scheme, but the team behind it hope to be able to apply for planning permission next summer.

The plan is broken into four development zones. The first involves a five-star resort hotel and spa, with a luxury lodge development. There are three options for this part of the project, including an 80-room spa hotel and 50 high-quality lodges, or a combination of both.

The other zones cover additions to the Nevis ski centre, including car park improvements and extensions, and an area of cabins, camping pods and yurts, with a bunkhouse close to the major sporting activities in the area.

Councillor Thomas MacLennan, chairman of Highland Council’s Lochaber area committee, said: “I welcome this proposed development.

“The community needs to engage, become aware of what’s on offer and see what we can do to make this come to fruition.”

Lochaber Chamber of Commerce is also behind the complex.

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