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Loch Ness coach park plans lodged

By Staff Reporter

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Urquhart Castle.
Urquhart Castle.

PLANS for a new coach park in a community close to the shores of Loch Ness are to be resubmitted after fears were raised over the original proposal.

Boat cruise operator Jacobite Cruises wants to create a 30-coach overflow park next to the health centre in Drumnadrochit in a bid to tackle traffic congestion at Urquhart Castle.

The empty coaches would park on a 2.5 acre site until being called to the castle – which attracted a record 518,195 visitors last year – when their passengers are ready for pick up and onward travel.

The proposal, which has sparked concerns, comes as separate plans are also being explored for a new transport hub involving electric shuttle buses to take locals and visitors along the busy A82 between the Clansman Hotel and the castle with stops at Drumnadrochit and also Dochgarroch, which supporters say would be more beneficial to local businesses.

Freda Newton, managing director of Loch Ness by Jacobite, said a new updated application had been submitted in order to provide the Highland Council with additional information.

“If granted planning permission, the new dedicated overspill car park will be in place by Easter 2020 and improve the safety of the A82,” she said.

Those concerned about the proposal include Fraser Campbell, director of Drumnadrochit-based Cobbs catering and hospitality company, who is involved in a potential venture with other organisations to enlarge the car park at the Clansman Hotel at Brackla – a departure point for Jacobite cruises – and develop a hop-on, hop-off bus service along the A82.

He acknowledged there was currently an issue with parking at Urquhart Castle, which is run by Historic Environment Scotland, as well as empty coaches parking in Drumnadrochit.

“We realise there is a problem but it is a collective problem and it can be collectively solved,” he said.

“We need to sit down with Jacobite Cruises, Historic Environment Scotland and other interested parties and work out the best solution for the village.

“I don’t think the best solution is empty coaches in the village.”

Related article: New overspill coach park plan for Drumnadrochit sparks local fears

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