Nevis Forest Master Plan set to move off the drawing board with eco-cabins proposals
A key step in delivering Forestry and Land Scotland's 20-year, £25million Nevis Forest Master Plan will be made this week when cabin tourism company, Forest Holidays, will submit a pre-application notification to the Highland Council.
Forest Holidays, one of the partners in the project, operates ten eco-cabin sites across the UK. As a long-term partner of Forestry and Land Scotland, with two successful locations in Scotland and one recently granted permission at Glentress, the business plans to invest £12million in a new location at Leanachan Forest, near Fort William.
The notification, which is for 50 cabins, 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 the Highland Council planners later this year.
Bruce McKendrick, Chief Executive of Forest Holidays said:
“The unique beauty of the Scottish landscape is widely appreciated by our guests who have enjoyed visiting our existing locations at Ardgarten, Argyle and Strathyre in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park for many years.
“They come seeking year-round experiences that connect them with the natural world and the special character of the local communities. We pride ourselves on preserving, respecting and enhancing existing recreational and environmental benefits and we were delighted to have recently been awarded this year's National Park Business Supporter of the Year Award by the Friends of Loch Lomond.
“There is widespread support for the Nevis Master Plan and what Forestry and Land Scotland is aiming to achieve. We are pleased to have arrived at this stage and look forward to meeting and speaking with a wide range of local stakeholders to explain what we are proposing and answer their questions.
“We have a 45-year history of working in partnership on the public forest and successfully in developing and managing this kind of destination and in our experience, this will bring multiple benefits to the forest, local and wider community.”
Forest Holidays locations typically create over 50 full time jobs, buy-in local goods and produce, and welcome guests all year round. On average, each cabin generates £30k in annual visitor spend in the surrounding area.
The proposed cabins, which provide year-round accommodation, fit with the ethos of the wider Masterplan to complement the existing high quality visitor offer, and will increase footfall, dwell time and the economic contribution which the forest makes to the visitor economy.
Other elements that will follow in later years, through other partnerships, could include a proposed Hotel development, a camping/glamping offer, event parking and improvements in recreation and connectivity.
Simon Hodgson, Chief Executive of Masterplan partner, Forestry and Land Scotland, said:
“We welcome this 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'.
“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.”