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Housebuilder to make record £45m investment in new properties in Badenoch and Strathspey

By Gavin Musgrove

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Badenoch and Strathspey is poised for a triple housing bonus in 2021 – with Tulloch Homes beginning work on more than 200 new homes early in the new year.

The developments at Aviemore, Newtonmore and Carrbridge will see a springtime start to infrastructure and construction activity, sparking a record Tulloch investment in the strath in excess of £45 million.

Billy McKay, Tulloch Homes construction director, revealed that after extended legal negotiations and delays caused by Covid-19 and lockdown, the way is now clear for the Highlands’ largest housebuilder to develop land in Aviemore at Byack Mor – known locally as the Pony Field – off Santa Claus Drive.

“We’re targeting getting under way in spring with an access road, with the first occupancies later in the year,” he told the Strathy. “There are 110 homes scheduled in the development, with the first phase comprising blocks of two bedroom flats, which research shows are much needed in Aviemore.

“We’ll then move on to detached and semi-detached properties, introducing totally new designs to the North market.

“This is our first Aviemore venture since the hugely popular High Burnside 16 years ago.

“This new location is close to the shops and facilities of the village centre and should be similarly successful.

“We’ll soon be accepting indications of interest in order to keep prospective home buyers informed with first news of prices and home types.”

The Pony Field is the largest remaining expanse of open ground for development within Aviemore and is popular with dog walkers but has long been zoned for housing.

Aviemore Community Council chairman Peter Long said: “We will obviously be sorry to lose the Pony Field but there is a desperate need for new homes for local people.”

A second phase of 48 homes at Tulloch’s Woodlands development at Carrbridge will begin in April, following a successful appeal to the Scottish Government.

The housebuilder said the first phase of two and three bedroom homes – Tulloch’s first in the village for more than 20 years – found a ready market.

Mr McKay indicated that the new phase will appeal to families and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

“The new homes will blend into their setting with external timber features and environmentally friendly features such as air source heat pumps”, he said.

There has been opposition locally to the development because of road safety concerns.

Carrbridge Community Council chairman Andrew Kirk said: “To be honest – we are surprised by the April start. We had not expected it quite this soon.

“The community council understands that the first 12 of the planning conditions need to have been delivered before the development commences.

“The adequacy of Carr Road to cope with construction traffic and the additional traffic created by the houses remains a great concern to existing residents.”

Some 50 homes will be built at Newtonmore including 20 affordable units.

Mr McKay said: “The location is at Perth Road near the Eilan shinty ground, and we’ll be building two bedroom flats along with two and three bedroom homes.”

He added: “All three developments should benefit from the surge in demand we’re experiencing from people who want the option to work from home along with enjoying green space.

“Our trio of developments in Badenoch and Strathspey gives them excellent options in this respect.”

The confirmation of work starting on the sites has been welcomed by the Cairngorms Business Parntership.

Chief executive Mark Tate said: “The availability of housing, that people who want to live in, work in and care for the Cairngorms National Park, can afford to rent and buy has been a major challenge and is likely to be even more of a challenge as we recover from what has been a disastrous 2020 for many businesses.

“It is great news that Tulloch’s plan to deliver these projects in 2021. The affordable housing is particularly welcome though housing at all levels for people who want to live and work here is much needed.”

Highland Council convener Bill Lobban, local member for Badenoch and Strathspey, said: “This is really good news for Aviemore and the other two areas.

“We desperately need affordable housing and whilst this will not solve the problem it will certainly help.”

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