Court hears ambitions for 'very special' Tomatin development
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The businessman behind a £12 million hotel and retail development planned for Tomatin told a Court of Session hearing of his ambition to create a showcase for the best of the Highlands.
Willam Frame, managing director of Tomatin Trading Company (TTC) and Braemore Estates, was the first defence witness called by TTC advocate Usman Tariq in a case over the use of the village name for the project.
The proposed development adjacent to the A9 on the outskirts of the village has already received planning permission from Highland Council, but neighbouring Tomatin Distillery has brought an action against TTC over use of the Tomatin name, citing concerns it could potentially damage their brand.
Asked to explain the thinking behind the Tomatin Trading Company, Mr Frame said: "It is to offer the best in Highland hospitality. It is to present Scotland at its best within the context of food and drink and to offer a comfortable stopping off place."
Mr Frame added that the development would not forget the local people of the Highlands, who he hoped would be the day to day customers of its farm shop and other retailers.
"We want to create something very special for visitors and locals alike," he said.
Mr Tariq then asked Mr Frame about the company name.
"It reflects the geographical area in which our site is located," he said.
"We have to be able to say where we are after all.
"Tomatin Trading Company is named to encompass what we do.We are a trading post on a busy route. It's a business name to reflect we are traders. I thought long and hard about this. I registered the name in 2010. This is nothing new."
Mr Frame will continue giving evidence on Friday when he will be cross-examined by Tomatin Distillery advocate Jonathan Lake.
Thursday's session also also heard from retired Tomatin Distillery chief executive Robert Anderson, who said he had always regarded the development as positive for the area.
Responding to Mr Tariq quoting from a socio-economic report into the development which said its food, drink and retail facilities had the potential to bring new visitors to the area, Mr Anderson said: "I have never disputed the development would be a good thing."
However, he went on to comment: "The development is in Tomatin, but that doesn't mean to say it has to be the Tomatin Trading Company."
The hearing, which is being conducted remotely before judge Lady Wolffe, is expected to conclude next week.