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Ex-A9 works compound site at Kincraig given stay of execution


By Gavin Musgrove

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A one-time A9 dualling works compound in Kincraig could yet get a new lease of life which the landowner has said ‘could be much better than a field of turnips’.

Cairngorms National Park Authority’s planning committee members meeting in Grantown have approved a three-year extension to Dunachton Estate to explore potential new uses.

They acknowledged the Covid pandemic had meant it was tougher for the estate to find new business opportunities for the 1.6 hectares of land at the north end of the village.

Laird John Forbes-Leith was delighted the compound site has been granted another ‘stay of execution’.

The initial planning approval required the area to be returned to its former condition and use as agricultural ground once the contractors had completed dualling of the Dalraddy-Kincraig section.

Mr Forbes-Leith told the Strathy: “It would be such a waste. We have a fully-serviced site which can be so much more useful to the community than a field of turnips.

“We would love to have developed into something appropriate before this, but the economic circumstances have not been favourable.

“So we are still considering just what to do with it but we’re agreed it would be ideal as a roadside service area of some kind.”

Dunachton’s neighbouring estate, Balavil, has had long-held ambitions to develop a smaller version of House of Bruar on its land just north of Kingussie.

But the owners have been frustrated by lack of progress of the dualling of the A9 and unable to start the work until they know the exact plans for the expanded road in the vicinity. The Strathy put it to Mr Forbes-Leith that there was the opportunity of something similar, if more modest, at Kincraig. He said: “I couldn’t agree more but to do something along those lines we would need some serious backing from somewhere. I’m all ears if someone has a practical project in mind.

“But the way it looks it will have to happen much sooner rather than later.”

Planning permission has been granted for a temporary period until November 2026 at the site for the formation of bunding, provision of services and laying out of access road, hardstanding, and tarmac area with associated landscaping.

But during the debate, planning committee member Derek Ross said: “The site is still a bit of a mess, isn’t it?”.

Eleanor MacKintosh, acting planning committee chairwoman, (pictured) said: “Permission for an extension was given just at Covid time and as we all know Covid gets the blame for everything but in fairness they would not have been able to do that much during this time.”

Edward Swales, the CNPA’s enforcement officer, had told the committee: “The principle of retaining the site for a further three years allows further investigations for alternative uses that to date have been hindered during the previous permission period.”

Mr Swales also pointed out: “One representation noted concern regarding the future use of the site, and the condition of the site as it currently is.

“The future use of the site is not a material consideration of this application, however, as the last three years have been subject to a number of restrictions due to Covid allowing a further three years allows the applicant an opportunity to investigate alternative uses.

“The current condition of the site is also considered to be acceptable as these investigations take place over the next three years.”

The site comprises a built-up level area, elevated above the public road, bounded by a fence. Access is currently taken from a private track leading from an unclassified road.

In 2020 planning permission was granted retrospectively for the continued occupation of the existing compound. The consent was for three years and had since expired.

If a new application does not come forward before November 10, 2026, then the site will have to be returned to the condition it was prior to the A9 construction.


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