Plans for hotel development at ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’ site

Bonnie Prince Charlie was said to have stopped off at the site. Picture: Contributed
Bonnie Prince Charlie was said to have stopped off at the site. Picture: Contributed
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A developer has unveiled plans to revamp a disused site next to the A9 by adding a multimillion-pound hotel, food and retail village.

William Frame, managing director of Tomatin Trading Company, has submitted a planning application to Highland Council to revitalise the location at the Tomatin junction, within easy reach of both Aviemore and Inverness.

The plans comprise the creation of a 97-bedroom hotel, farm shop and 200-seater restaurant, drive-through bakery and food outlet plus four retail units and a petrol station.

The brownfield site has detailed mixed-use live consent for hotel, restaurant and retail use granted in 2007, but the new plans will reinforce this with the creation of a new retail and food destination on Scotland’s longest road.

The site was historically occupied by the Freeburn Hotel that was built in 1895 and was reputed to have been the site of a stopping-off point for Bonnie Prince Charlie. The hotel ceased trading in the 1960s and became a Little Chef that was demolished in 2008.

Frame said: “I first bought the site in 2005 and believe this is now the right time to take forward our plans with the commitment of Transport Scotland to improve accessibility to the Highlands. The dualling of the A9 will include the stretch in close proximity to the site of the proposed development and the Highlands are an increasingly popular tourist destination.

“There is high demand for quality, affordable hotel rooms within easy reach of both Aviemore and Inverness as well as the many attractions of the area.

“The development will showcase the best of the Highland region, from the products in the retail outlets to the locally sourced produce in the restaurant and farm shop, which will represent the best of Scottish food and drink.

“This offering will be supported by a leading hotel, which will tie into the Highland landscape while providing quality, affordable accommodation.”

Property Consultant Jack Cadell from Cadell Property said the A9 has always lacked a full-service stop with a wide range of retail and food/drink choices, and the new development will let people “stop and sample some of Scotland’s best in a high-quality village style environment”.

If planning is approved it is anticipated that the new hotel, food and retail village – with the development complementing the landscape – will open in late summer/autumn 2019.