Green light for Ben Nevis masterplan

Leanachan hotelA ‘masterplan’ which includes plans to create a £25 million visitor resort with a ‘world-class’ five-star hotel on the northern slopes of Ben Nevis has been approved by The Highland Council.

Produced by Forest Enterprise Scotland and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), the masterplan is the blueprint which could kick-start a positive transformation around Leanachan Forest.

The aim of the masterplan is to develop a high quality experience for a range of visitors to the area whilst ensuring all infrastructure is in keeping with the environment.

The masterplan includes plans for:

• a luxury 80 bed hotel and/or high quality forest lodges;

• cabin, yurts, bunkhouse or camping pods area close to Nevis Range: and

• improved road access off the A82, better signage, car parking and landscaping and buildings to improve the whole visitor experience.

The developments are all planned within a number of “zones” across the area designated for development.

Nevis Forest and Mountain Resort lodgesBen Lennon, Forest Enterprise Scotland’s district manager for Lochaber, said: “The area being proposed is fantastic and would be a big draw to all visitors who love dramatic landscapes and outdoor activities. The masterplan gives a structured way forward that is sustainable and sensitive to the environment.

“It is good to have the masterplan officially accepted as part of the planning guidance.”

Forest Enterprise Scotland and HIE will now start to work with stakeholders to take forward the masterplan which will require attracting private sector developers and investment to make it happen.

The forestry environment supports a variety of interesting wildlife habitats and as part of the masterplan, consideration has been given to how more wildlife interpretations, hides and viewpoints could be incorporated.

Scott Dingwall, head of regional development, Lochaber Skye & Wester Ross at HIE, added: “We have been working with Forest Enterprise Scotland to explore the further opportunities that Leanachan Forest offers. The approval of the masterplan provides further clarity as to the development potential of the area from a planning perspective, and is a key element in presenting the opportunity to the market.”

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