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Go-ahead is given to knock down Scotland's very first ski hotel


By Gavin Musgrove

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Willie McKenna wants the importance of the Struan House Hotel to the development of Scottish skiing to be recognised at the site.
Willie McKenna wants the importance of the Struan House Hotel to the development of Scottish skiing to be recognised at the site.

Plans to knock down Scotland’s first ski hotel and replace it with affordable housing have been warmly welcomed.

Cairngorms National Park Authority’s (CNPA) planning committee members unanimously approved the proposal for the Struan House Hotel site in Carrbridge.

It ends more than 16 years of wrangle during which the derelict building has become an eyesore and also a danger in the community, with youngsters using it as a play den.

There have been calls for the site’s importance to the development of skiing in the Cairngorms to be recognised with a plaque and through the street name.

The hotel will make way for 10 affordable flats and parking after applicant Highland Council housing development services’ plans were granted at the latest meeting.

The prominent site opposite the Landmark Forest Adventure Park was finally acquired using a Compulsory Purchase Order by the local authority earlier this month signalling an end to the deadlock. CNPA planning committee member John Kirk said: “This has been an eyesore in the middle of Carrbridge for the last 15 years or whatever it has been. I think it is a good idea to build low cost housing here – it is something the area badly needs especially given the staffing issues being faced by Landmark.”

Fellow member Eleanor MacKintosh said: “Just to echo what John has said. This has been a long time in the process and it is great to see it coming to fruition.

“Affordable housing is desperately needed for the local area so I will be wholeheartedly supporting this application.”

Committee member Geva Blackett said: “I agree with everything that has been said. I do have some slight concerns over the electrical heating but this is not a planning matter so we can not do anything about it. It is great to see this coming forward and I welcome it.”

Committee colleague Pippa Hadley said there was a desperate need locally for one-bedroom homes: “It is especially pleasing to see such a high concentration of this in the application.”

The Struan House Hotel was originally opened by Karl Fuchs, a member of the 1948 Austrian Olympic team, and his wife, Eileen, in the mid 1950s.
The Struan House Hotel was originally opened by Karl Fuchs, a member of the 1948 Austrian Olympic team, and his wife, Eileen, in the mid 1950s.

Willie McKenna said that plans for affordable housing at the site were ‘great’ but he wanted recognition of the hotel to be made once it had gone.

He told the meeting: “We have to take a step back and think of the cultural history this building created in Carrbridge. It was the first ski school to ever happen here. Is there any possibility that there can be a plaque on the building to remember what happened at the site?”

Committee member Fiona MacLean concurred: “It is really important that this part of our cultural heritage is recognised and I really welcome the disabled access units. It is great to see these have been taken into account.”

Colleague Willie Munro said: “The building is completely and utterly past it but it was in its day a very attractive hotel, adding a lot to the main street in Carrbridge and I think it will be a shame it is not going to be possible to save any of it...

“I think there is a strong argument that there should be an interpretation board of the hotel as it was and its history.”

CNPA planning officers said they would raise this point with Highland Council.

Earlier in the debate, member Deirdre Falconer had questioned the exact type of heating units being proposed and was told by planning officers they were storage heaters. She responded: “The area has been hit by power cuts this year so will there be some kind of fall-back? Also energy prices are getting very expensive for people in low income households.”

Park authority planners had recommended approval of the plans for the 10 flats in three blocks.

The hotel was originally opened by Karl Fuchs, a member of the 1948 Austrian Olympic team, and his wife, Eileen, in the mid 1950s.

Highland Council to make Compulsory Purchase Order for eyesore hotel

Tributes paid to one of the last of the Cairngorm ski legends


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