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Transport officers say planned holiday retreat in the Highlands likely to lead to increased traffic conflict

By Val Sweeney

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

Transport officials have objected to controversial plans for a £3 million rural holiday retreat to the west of Inverness.

The proposed venture to convert derelict agricultural buildings at Ladystone Steading above Bunchrew into 10 short-term holiday units and a spa has already run into opposition from nearby residents and community representatives who are worried about road safety issues.

Now Highland Council’s transport planning team has also raised concerns about vehicles accessing the site via Leachkin Brae, a private track – used by the Great Glen Way – and a new length of private track.

It points out Leachkin Brae is a single track public road with roadside drainage ditches, no footway and limited passing opportunities. It currently serves several properties and a forest car park.

"We consider that the traffic generated by this development during the construction and when the business is operating will likely cause further deterioration of the road, due to intensification of use," the objection states.

"Also, intensification of vehicle use will likely lead to increased conflict with motorised users and non-motorised users such as pedestrians and cycles who visit the area for recreational purposes."

Officers note the Leachkin Brae route has been proposed following objections from Network Rail to previous applications in the area.

It had concerns about increased use of its small railway bridge on the unadopted Ladystone Road which joins the A862.

The application for the development has been submitted to the council by Dualchas Architects on behalf of city businesswoman Christy Marshall.

A supporting transport statement acknowledges that although the proposed access is single track along its length, other factors should be noted such as low traffic flows and speeds and current adequate passing places.

"The applicant will work with the various agencies to provide additional passing places and enhance pedestrian facilities where it is possible to do so," it continues.

"The applicant owns sufficient ground to enable a proactive approach towards securing appropriate safety for pedestrians."

Other objections include one from Craig Wood, part owner of Ladystone Woodland, who supports a submission lodged by local residents John Watt and Margaret Brown, citing a range of factors including loss of amenity, overdevelopment and poor road infrastructure.

Mr Wood also refers to a letter of support for the project from Clement and Margaret Cuthbert, who say it will turn an eyesore into a building consistent with the area.

He attaches an application, pending at Register House, naming Mr and Mrs Cuthbert as the grantors of a disposition for Ladystone Steading to applicants Ryan Forbes and Christy Forbes.

Related story: Plan to transform derelict buildings into new holiday resort meets opposition

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