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Multimillion pound Cabot Highland golf club masterplan sees Castle Stuart lodges proposal approved by Highland Council

By Philip Murray

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An artist's impression of the course's expanded clubhouse, which has already been approved, and (inset) one of the approved lodge designs.
An artist's impression of the course's expanded clubhouse, which has already been approved, and (inset) one of the approved lodge designs.

Ambitious expansion plans at a Highland golf course links have passed another milestone after new lodges were given the green light.

Cabot Highland had submitted plans for 16 two-storey lodges, offering 36 separate apartments, near to the clubhouse at Castle Stuart Golf Club.

They are part of a wider multimillion pound masterplan for the site that includes the already approved expansion of the clubhouse, a second 18-hole course, and new parking facilities.

READ MORE: Multimillion pound Cabot Highland masterplan for new golf course at Castle Stuart passes fresh milestone

The new lodges will be located on land to the north and south of the clubhouse - and 10 of which will be arranged in a semi-circle overlooking the 18th hole.

Two of the designs for the new lodges.
Two of the designs for the new lodges.

The lodges are in a mix of four designs, with three of the designs overring two, two-bedroom apartments, and a fourth design housing four, two-bedroom apartments.

Granting permission, Highland Council planners said: "Each [lodge] type is designed to introduce variety but with similar finishes, scale, form and massing. Finishes include a mix of natural stone and timber cladding with pitched slated roofs.

"The proposed lodges will be set within a detailed landscaped environment incorporating a wide mix of species suitable for the area but with an emphasis on berry bearing and flowering species. Trees will be included within the layout."

In a planning statement submitted alongside the application, Cabot Highland said: "The proposal represents a change to the previously approved accommodation facilities to be delivered in conjunction with the two 18 hole golf courses. The completion of the original course has demonstrated considerable success attracting both local and overseas visitors.

An artist's impression of the course's expanded clubhouse, which has already been approved.
An artist's impression of the course's expanded clubhouse, which has already been approved.

“The original lodge development, although commenced, was not completed. With the recent change in ownership and management of the course, now the responsibility of Cabot Highlands, the demand for additional facilities is anticipated to increase following the completion of the second course.

"The provision of the proposed lodges will encourage visitors to stay within the area longer and enhances the facilities on offer.

“The proposal will have no greater impact than the originally proposed development and represents a considerably reduced footprint of development. The design, form and scale of the lodges is consistent with the quality of facilities on offer at Castle Stuart.

“The proposal accords with the key policy objectives of both local and national planning policy and there are no infrastructure constraints that would limit the development as proposed.”

The lodges plan had hit a snag earlier this year when Highland Council's flood risk management team initially objected to it “until further information is provided” after they ruled that the development had a low flood risk. However that objection has now been dropped, with council planners noting that the flood team had “requested the submission of a drainage impact assessment for the disposal of surface water drainage from the site. This has been submitted and the team are satisfied.

An objection was also raised by a member of the public, citing the omission of a core path and safe cycling route from the proposal. However, planners noted "These are not affected by this proposal and these were considered as part fo the applications for the golf courses."

The approval is subject to several conditions, including measures to protect overwintering waterfowl during construction, and a restriction preventing occupancy of the completed lodges until after the golf course access road's junction with the B9039 is upgraded and widened.

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