North Coast 500: Luxury glamping pods blocked by government reporter following backlash from village

Highland residents have won their fight to stop a new luxury glamping park close to the North Coast 500 after a major backlash to the plans.

More than 200 people made official representations to the Scottish Government planning reporter against nine new glamping pods with hot tubs set above Ullapool in Wester Ross.

The Government planning reporter has now dismissed an appeal from the applicant, Laurence Young, who owns a holiday park and golf course in Ballachulish, given the impact the development would have on the setting of Ullapool.

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The reporter said: “I consider that the development would potentially be prominent in views from the shore area and could detract from the quality of the setting of Ullapool. Insufficient evidence has been provided to demonstrate otherwise.”

Topher Dawson, chair of Lochbroom Community Council, said it was the first time the community council had objected to a planning matter.

He said: “For a long time, the community council decided not to support or object to any planning application unless we were unanimous on it. For the first time, we objected to a planning application. That objection was unanimous. There were lots of reasons to object in the community, but we objected on the grounds of traffic.”

Mr Dawson said the main concern had been the “terrifying” junction on the main road from Inverness, which carries high volumes of traffic to the ferry port that serves the Western Isles, to the single track road that leads up to the Braes area of the village, where the pods were due to be built.

Mr Dawson said: “We took the decision that this would affect the whole community, not just those using the Braes road.

Plans to build a glamping park overlooking Ullapool have been rejected given its impact on the setting of the village. PIC: Neil Roger/Flickr/CC.

"This is a terrifying junction, but at least local people understand the situation. That would not be the case for those doing the North Coast 500 and going to the Braes development.”

Mr Dawson said residents felt very strongly about the impact the development would have on the core path to the Cnoc na Croich viewpoint, with the pods to be built either side of the route.

He said: “Lots of local people go up to the top of the Braes to enjoy the view and that is exactly where these pods were going to be. It felt like the applicant wanted to privatise what a lot of us thought was valuable.”

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The planning reporter found the junction could not be taken into consideration given it did not form access to the site.

However, she said the Braes road, in its existing state, would not be safe for pedestrians or vehicles accessing the glamping site.

The applicant’s offer to install passing places was probably undeliverable, partly because they did not fall on his land.

She found the impact on the walking path would be short term given new tree planting around the development would shield the pods in time.

However, the reporter found woodland would not be replaced in front of the lower row of pods – “presumably to allow views outwards” – with a risk they would be seen from the shore area.

The reporter added: “The proposal would not achieve the right development in the right place and would therefore not be supported by Scottish Planning Policy.”

Mr Young was contacted for comment.



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