Community council objects to Achnabobane attraction
PLANS for a £2 million garden centre and visitor attraction at Achnabobane have been vetoed by Spean Bridge, Roy Bridge and Achnacarry Communtiy Council, writes Ellie Forbes.
The council objected to the plans for a petting zoo, garden centre and restaurant on land just off the A82 by Achnabobane resident Ross MacGregor when it met on Tuesday August 1.
Mr MacGregor had intended to attend the meeting with his planning team, who were travelling from Edinburgh, but called off at the last minute after the death of a close friend who lived on his farm left him ‘devastated and heartbroken’.
The community council unanimously objected to the plans for various reasons, including concerns about access to the site from the A82.
Community councillors said access to the single track road from the A82 would need a feeder lane, in and out, with community council chairman John Fotherigham saying Transport Scotland would not ‘pay a penny’ for these improvements.
In its objection the community council said: ‘The applicant has failed to include any information to enable us to consider the likely on and off site transport implications.
‘Given the anticipated visitor numbers, the traffic generated was likely to involve an additional 15,000 to 30,000 movements in and out of the site along the A82 and onto a single track, unclassified road.
‘The entrance to Achnabobane is at the top of a rise and the A82 speed limit at this point is 60mph.
‘The volume of traffic turning into the unclassified road would constitute a significant risk to other road users.’ Speaking to the Lochaber
Times, Mr MacGregor rebutted the claims, stating Achnabobane residents ‘ didn’t need to have reservations’ as traffic turning into the site from the A82 would only be going 10 yards up the single track road before turning off.
He said: ‘The House of Bruar and The Green Welly Stop are hugely successful visitors attractions, both of which are situated on extremely busy roads. Our adopted road at Achnabobane is of extremely high standard and cars would only be going 10 yards up that road before turning off into the visitor attraction – no where near the houses in Achnabobane.
‘We welcome any comments from Transport Scotland and want to work with the community to address concerns.’
Mr MacGregor added this would be a good opportunity to install a bus stop to encourage people to take public transport to the site.
He said: ‘I think the community council is being short sighted. We are not looking to create something new but expand what is already here, creating jobs and a place where family and visitors can go.’
The community council also noted the proposed site is not in the West Highland and Islands local development plan as a settlement or earmarked for growth.
Mr MacGregor confirmed they are in the process of trying to get the site on the development plan.
Ross MacGregor feeds Angus the young bull and calf, Charlie.