Farm is re­ally go­ing places – across the A9

Com­pul­sory or­der means fam­ily must move lock, stock and bar­rel to al­low for trunk road du­alling

The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands) - - FRONT PAGE - BY SUSY MA­CAULAY LO­CAL GOVERN­MENT RE­PORTER

A FARM­ING fam­ily has re­vealed plans to move the busi­ness from one side of the main road through the High­lands to the other to make way for a road du­alling project.

Balavil Es­tate, near Kin­gussie, has a large swathe of land un­der a com­pul­sory pur­chase or­der on both sides of the cur­rent A9, to make way for the Cruben­more-Kin­craig phase of the road widen­ing.

The farm, home to a pedi­gree Aberdeen Angus herd and 1,400 sheep, couldn’t func­tion in its cur­rent po­si­tion as the new road would block the ex­ist­ing un­der­pass which gives live­stock ac­cess to the north­ern side.

The new site has been iden­ti­fied and cleared, with de­signs un­der way to cre­ate “the per­fect farm for the site”, gen­eral man­ager Gary Cul­pan said.

And yes­ter­day, they were granted plan­ning per­mis­sion in prin­ci­ple for the big move by the Cairn­gorm Na­tional Park Au­thor­ity.

Plan­ning com­mit­tee con­vener Eleanor Mack­in­tosh said: “It cer­tainly is an un­usual ap­pli­ca­tion, mov­ing an en­tire farm, but I am happy to sup­port it.”

A north farm is set to move across the road to ac­com­mo­date the du­alling of the A9.

Balavil Home Farm must com­ply with a com­pul­sory pur­chase or­der and move half a mile north within two years be­fore the du­alling of the Cruben­more-Kin­craig stretch of the A9 can be­gin.

The farm’s gen­eral man­ager, Gary Cul­pan, said: “There will be ad­van­tages in an­i­mal wel­fare on the north side of the farm, as it will in­volve less move­ment of live­stock than there is at present.”

The farm has 92 world­class pedi­gree Aberdeen Angus cat­tle and 1,400 sheep.

The new site has been iden­ti­fied and cleared with de­signs un­der way to cre­ate “the per­fect farm for the site”, Mr Cul­pan said.

The farm has been granted plan­ning per­mis­sion in prin­ci­ple for the move by the Cairn­gorm Park Na­tional Au­thor­ity, and must now move rapidly to­wards full plan­ning per­mis­sion.

The cur­rent farm has five build­ings, some of which are agri­cul­tural sheds and de­mount­able.

The de­vel­op­ment will in­clude a range of farm build­ings to­talling 2,792 square me­tres, a new ac­cess track to the side from an ex­ist­ing es­tate track and as­so­ci­ated drainage.

Mr Cul­pan said: “I’ve no reser­va­tions about the lo­gis­ti­cal side. We’ve al­ready iden­ti­fied a lo­cal con­trac­tor to do the work.”

CPNA plan­ning con­vener Eleanor Mack­in­tosh said: “It cer­tainly is an un­usual ap­pli­ca­tion, mov­ing an en­tire farm, but I am happy to sup­port the rec­om­men­da­tion based on the con­text of the ap­pli­ca­tion. I am keen to see the de­tail of the project when it comes for­ward.”

Gavin Miles, CPNA’s head of plan­ning and com­mu­ni­ties, said: “We are rec­om­mend­ing ap­proval of the ap­pli­ca­tion as it meets with all the rel­e­vant poli­cies in the Cairn­gorms Na­tional Park lo­cal de­vel­op­ment plan, de­spite an ob­jec­tion from Trans­port Scot­land.

“As this is a per­mis­sion in prin­ci­ple – with the de­tail of the scheme yet to be de­cided – and the fact that the route of this new sec­tion of dual car­riage­way has yet to be fixed, we have to base our rec­om­men­da­tion on the sit­u­a­tion as we have it...”

“It is an un­usual ap­pli­ca­tion, mov­ing an en­tire farm”

FAC­ING CHANGE: Gary Cul­pan of Balavil Home Farm, which is set to move to ac­com­mo­date A9 du­alling. Pho­to­graph by Sandy McCook

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