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Tubing slides given permission for five more years at Cairngorm Mountain

By Gavin Musgrove

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Temporary consent expired this month for one tube slide granted by Highland Council in 2019 and for two further slides in same area agreed last summer by the CNPA.
Temporary consent expired this month for one tube slide granted by Highland Council in 2019 and for two further slides in same area agreed last summer by the CNPA.

The go-ahead has been given for temporary permission for three tube slides and a zip line to continue for a further five years at Cairngorm Mountain.

But there were questions from some members of the Cairngorms National Park Authority's planning committee at their latest planning meeting over whether the extension was too long.

Eleanor Mackintosh wondered how the five years was arrived at in the first place in the discussion.

She said: "This seems like a very long time. Five years plus the one year they have already had is six years.

"I would have thought that three years would have been more than enough.

"Six years in a long time for (the site) to not be landscaped."

The CNPA's planning chief Gavin Miles responded: "I actually think that five years is sensible given the context of things on the mountain and the way their business has moved.

"They have obviously been disrupted at various times and have not been able to use this properly and five years is reasonable."

Committee member Willie Munro told the meeting: "I feel slightly uncomfortable with the idea of continually extending temporary permissions until it essentially becomes permanent and whether it may have been assessed differently had it been a permanent application in the first place."

Earlier Mr Miles had told the committee that the areas that had been disturbed for the installations were now starting to 'green over'.

He said there were no additional environmental issues as it the developments were already in the existing disturbed grounds of the car park.

In recommending approval, Mr Miles said: "The application is for five years to allow Cairngorm Mountain to continue to operate them for a longer period of time.

"They have obviously had intermittent ability to operate them but they have been quite successful and this will allow them a period to time to see how they work over more normal circumstances.

"They do match with Cairngorm Mountain's ambitions to develop the site into a more year-round attraction and provide an alternative activity for people during the summer months but they are not used during the winter.

"We think it is a reasonable thing to do to give them a further five years consent which allows them to test this out and we do not consider there are any significant issues with the application."

Susan Smith, interim chief executive of Cairngorm Mountain (Scotland) Ltd said welcomed approval for the application.

She said: "The slides have proved to be very popular with locals and visitors. We are way ahead of our budget projection which is pleasing.

"We hope to have them running over the festive period and perhaps with snow cover which will make them really exciting."

Temporary approval was initally granted by Highland Council in June 2019 for the installation of a tube slide, the zip line and play area for a temporary period until November 1 this year.

The operation of the slide was then to cease and the structures removed.

In June, last year, the Cairngorms National Park Authority granted planning permission for two further tube slides within the same area.

This was again as a temporary consent with removal of equipment required by the same date.

Planners had said in their report the principle of development had already been established.

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