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Nethy Bridge farmer plants plans for campervan site in village

By Gavin Musgrove

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CAMPERVANS: Applicant has said there is a real need for more facilities in strath.
CAMPERVANS: Applicant has said there is a real need for more facilities in strath.

A Nethy Bridge farmer has submitted plans for a small campervan site on his land as part of proposals to diversify the business and step back from the sector.

Donald Black wants to create 12 campervans bays, hook-up and effluent disposal facilities as part of the farm holding at Leiteir Feannagan.

His planning agent Grantown-based Stephen Ritchie has told planners that the development will be an exemplar overnight campervan site.

He said the development would address a “real need” in the area, and make a positive contribution to local tourism and visitor management in the Cairngorms National Park.

The application lodged with Highland Council’s planning service states that Mr Black has scaled down farming operations with the sale of the main farm and prize herd of cattle as part of phased retiral plans.

He and his wife continue to farm in a smaller scale in the Garlyne Brae area and in the Causer and Lettoch areas on the edge of Nethy Bridge.

Mr Ritchie states: “They have plans to move to their smaller farm holding at Leiteir Feannagan in the Garlyne Brae area and received planning permission for a new house and farm buildings there in 2017.

“They have also diversified and grow a limited range of vegetable crops for their own consumption and selling locally.

“The Blacks own a caravan and have been keen caravanners for many years.

“With the growth in the popularity in campervanning in recent years, and the well-publicised shortage of overnight stopping off places with supporting facilities for campervans and associated problems in the Cairngorms National Park, they have identified a business opportunity to diversify their farming activities and provide a small campervan site.

“The proposed site has stunning views across Strathspey and they are convinced the small campervan site would be popular with campervanners, and relieve pressure in more sensitive areas in the strath not geared up to cater for this growing market.

“They are also keen to remain active and would enjoy hosting visitors staying overnight with campervans.”

Mr Ritchie points out that there was a steady growth in the popularity of campervanning pre-Covid, and this is expected to soar soon as the public seek “safe” staycation breaks in the UK.

The application states: “It is generally accepted there is a substantial shortfall in the provision of campervan overnight stopping-off points with appropriate support infrastructure facilities throughout Scotland and in popular locations such as the Cairngorms National Park.”

There are no plans to provide a toilet block at the site which extends to less than one acre. The applicants point out that modern campervans are well-equipped with toilets, showers, water-storage tanks and effluent facilities.

However, it is proposed to install a campervan effluent disposal point and associated sealed tank to address the acute shortage of campervan effluent disposal points in the national park.

The Blacks have an extensive collection of old farm machinery and an area will be zoned for an open-air display next to a picnic area at the proposed site.

The application has been called in by the Cairngorms National Park Authority’s planning service for determination.

Businessman Ainslie Fraser recently lodged plans with Highland Council for a 38-bay motorhome and caravan site on land

85 miles north of Birchview in Dalwhinnie.

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