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Balavil 'route' plan is backed

By SPP Reporter

Balavil Estate, Balavil Farm, Cairngorms National Park Authority, CNPA
Balavil Estate, Balavil Farm, Cairngorms National Park Authority, CNPA

A REVISED plan submitted for a controversial hill track on a Badenoch estate is expected to be recommended for approval despite stern opposition.

The Strathy understands Cairngorms National Park Authority planners are maintaining the proposal on Balavil Estate should be granted.

The application will be determined at Friday's planning committee meeting in Boat of Garten Community Hall.

Balavil Estate initially applied for permission to "repair" an existing moorland track, only to aggravate walkers and conservationists who insisted no such track existed other than from tyre marks created by all-terrain vehicles (ATV).

CNPA planning officials had initially recommended it should be approved by its committee meeting in December, but the furore beforehand prompted planning committee members to ask for an amended application, with more time given for comments.

The plan now lodged is for an "upgrade to existing hill access for vehicles, including sections of new track construction, and repair and improvements to existing track, between Allt Ruighe na Riog and River Dulnain".

The deadline for submissions has passed although the local community council has been given an extra week after the planning papers were misdirected. "We didn't know about this because the CNPA wrongly sent our papers to Kingussie," said Kincraig Community Council secretary Lesley Dudgeon.

"We were not aware of the details until the estate's general manager Gary Culpan invited us to Balavil to appraise us of their intentions. Now we have been given until Friday to get our comments to the CNPA."

Seven organisations representing outdoor recreation and environmental interests are amongst objectors.

Badenoch and Strathspey Conservation Group chairman Dr Gus Jones said: "The Cairngorms is renowned for its wildness and internationally valued landscapes that provide inspiration for many. With others, we are concerned about the many and long-lasting impacts of this proposal. The CNPA has a policy against constructing new tracks in open moorland.

"This hill track is set to be a test case on delivery of this policy and how the authority treats wild land areas in practice."

Related article:
Estate route to be resubmitted

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