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A £12million holiday development would see 50 ‘eco-cabins’ built in Leanachan Forest close to the slopes of Ben Nevis and Fort William.
The project is a key step in delivering Forestry and Land Scotland’s 20-year, £25million Nevis Forest Master Plan and cabin tourism company Forest Holidays will submit a pre-application notification to the Highland Council this week.
Forest Holidays, which operates 10 eco-cabin sites across the UK, is a partner of Forestry and Land Scotland. With two existing locations in Scotland and one recently granted permission at Glentress in the Borders, the business now wants to invest £12million at the Leanachan Forest site.
The notification will be followed by public consultation and drop-in sessions in mid-July, with the aim of finalising a full planning application for submission to Highland Council planners later this year.
Forest Holidays chief executive Bruce McKendrick said the company’s guests have enjoyed visiting its existing locations at Ardgarten in Argyll and Strathyre in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park for many years.
‘There is widespread support for the Nevis Master Plan and what Forestry and Land Scotland is aiming to achieve,’ he said this week.
‘We are pleased to have arrived at this stage and look forward to meeting and speaking with stakeholders to explain what we are proposing and answer their questions.
‘We have a 45-year history of working in partnership with the public forest and successfully developing and managing this kind of destination. In our experience, this will bring multiple benefits to the forest and the local and wider community.’
Forest Holidays says its locations typically create more than 50 full-time jobs, buy-in local goods and produce and welcome guests all year round.
On average, each cabin is claimed to generate £30,000 in annual visitor spend in the surrounding area.
Other elements would follow in later years, through other partnerships, and could include a hotel, camping/glamping, event parking and improvements in recreation and connectivity.
Simon Hodgson, chief executive of Forestry and Land Scotland, welcomed the latest step in the delivery of the master plan.
‘We set out to make a positive step-change for Lochaber and create a ‘world-class destination’ from which all the attractions of Fort William and wider Lochaber region can be explored,’ he said.
‘Having invested five years already in this major project, it’s good to see our partner Forest Holidays bringing this element to the planning stage and all of the effort begin to come to fruition.’
Forestry and Land Scotland is one of two new government agencies – the other being Scottish Forestry – which replaced Forestry Commission Scotland and Forest Enterprise Scotland in April.
A typical Forest Holidays cabin of the sort that would be built near Fort William.
NO F25 Forest Holidays Cabin