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THE provision of modern tourist accommodation at a rural site in Caithness could encourage visitors to spend more time in the area and give a boost to the local economy.

That is the aim of a development being planned at Latheronwheel near Craiglea Lodge which has been running for over 15 years and caters to tourist groups of up to 20 people.

The proposed four glamping pods would be targeted at visitors on the North Coast 500 (NC500) route and would create accommodation for tourists visiting the north on short breaks and weekend stays, according to a document provided along with the application to Highland Council.

It says the site will make use of an existing access point, that currently serves the holiday accommodation of Craiglea Lodge. A parking/turning area is also in the plan along with associated footpaths, landscaping of the site and connection to existing mains drainage.

Under the plan, each unit would have a small area of decking to provide private outdoor space and an electric vehicle parking bay. Four other parking spaces are being planned for any maintenance vehicles.

Artist’s impression of the proposed pods at Latheronwheel

The document says: “This area is well-known and popular to both locals and tourists.The proposed development is in addition to the applicant’s existing successful holiday accommodation business, Craiglea Lodge. The applicant has noticed a demand for smaller accommodation, accommodating two to six people on their travels along the NC500 route. It is believed that this development will allow more flexibility to guests visiting the area.

“The site is expected to provide a number of benefits to the area, especially to small businesses. The applicant intends to use local contractors for all site build works.

“The proposed pods are designed and constructed to be extremely energy efficient. In addition, they are small in height – below three metres – so no obstruction to neighbouring views is anticipated. A bus stop is located just a one-minute walk from the site on the A9.”

It adds: “The units are to be used solely for tourist accommodation as an expansion to the existing business. No unit will be used as a permanent residence.

“The target market for visitors to the site will be focused on NC500 explorers. Additionally, more accommodation in the area will encourage guests to spend more time in the local area, therefore, contributing more to the local economy and visitor spending.”

The application is said to be under consideration by the local authority.

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published 2023-10-06 22:48:20