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Ambitious £3 million plan to turn a steading in to a rural holiday retreat outside Inverness is rejected by Highland Council

By Scott Maclennan

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The derelict steading at Ladystone.
The derelict steading at Ladystone.

A PROPOSED £3 million rural holiday retreat outside Inverness has been rejected by Highland Council amid strong opposition from local residents and community leaders.

The plan was to convert the dilapidated Ladystone Steading near Bunchrew into 10 short-term holiday units with associated facilities including a spa, gym, café, shop, bike hire, library and car park.

The businesswoman behind the plan, Christy Marshall, said: “We are very disappointed with the outcome and handling of our case at the meeting. As such, we are now seeking clarification on procedural matters from the Highland Council.”

There was staunch local opposition to the development as well as from Kirkhill and Bunchrew Community Council which was worried about access and road safety issues.

Objectors felt that the old drover’s road leading to the property could not take the increased traffic, even going so far as to take dashcam footage to show the state of the narrow, single track road.

The south planning applications committee voted five to three to reject the plans.

Councillor Margaret Davidson asked: “Is this suitable for this area? This is nearly two kilometres of really substandard road which will need a fortune to bring up to condition.

“That drove road was built for horses, carts and people on foot and it served them well, but this is a different time.”

Committee chairman Jimmy Gray, said: “I have really grave concerns about this if we look at the road infrastructure. I don’t think it is practical, what is being suggested.

“I would like to see the steading redeveloped. I like the application if I am totally honest, but the infrastructure is in such a state. I took a run up and the road conditions are unbelievable – and that is before you get to the road that they are intending to use. The amount of upgrading needed is, well, I don’t think it is credible to be honest.”

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