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Inverness Cathedral kiosk plan hits tree snag objection from Highland Council

By Neil MacPhail

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Inverness Cathedral's application for refreshment kiosk hits snag.
Inverness Cathedral's application for refreshment kiosk hits snag.

A PLAN for St Andrew’s Cathedral in Inverness to erect a refreshment and information kiosk on the lawn has attracted a holding objection from Highland Council’s forestry team while more information is sought.

South Highland forestry officer Grant Stuart is concerned that the kiosk's foundation work could sever the roots of mature limes trees and he needs to know therefore what type of foundation is planned.

A similar situation applies to the cathedral’s application for planning permission for two monolith signs to be installed on the grass as this could damage the roots of mature cherry trees unless the holes are hand dug with care.

The cathedral is in the Inverness (Riverside) Conservation Area where all trees are protected.

Mr Stuart says in his objection: “I am concerned that both monolith signs, the external seating area and the kiosk appear to be within the root protection area (RPA) of existing, mature, protected trees and yet there is no arboricultural advice in support of the application and no information on the type of foundation that would be used for the kiosk.

“The default position should be that structures are located outside the RPAs of trees to be retained.

“However, where there is an overriding justification for construction within the RPA, technical solutions might be available that prevent damage to the trees.”

Of lesser concern to Mr Stuart is soil compaction from customers using the picnic tables set out on the lawn.

The cathedral’s application for a kiosk follows council approval for a street food zone with six gazebos or vans on the nearby riverside pedestrian area, which could boost maintenance income to the cathedral’s café at its rear.

A planning statement by the cathedral’s consultants Maclean Architecture and Conservation, says the street food area adjacent to the cathedral will most likely generate increased activity along Bishop’s Road.

It adds: “The creation of an information and drinks kiosk will help guide visitors to the cathedral and enable the cathedral staff to supervise the grass and seating area and assist in managing the area effectively.”

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