Council approve plans for seven houses on Staffin croft land

A planning application for seven house sites on croft land at Staffin is still to be finalised due to the objections of Scottish National Heritage.

Highland Councillors this week approved the application by William MacInnes of Skinidin, who had  resubmitted plans earlier this year to amend previous proposals for nine plots at 22 Garafad. Under the new plans, which were approved by the north planning committee on Tuesday this week, three of the sites will be for affordable housing, with the remaining four developed as separate “market-value” plots. Mr MacInnes has previously sought permission for nine sites.

Councillors passed the application but with additional conditions.  Due to the formal objection from SNH the plans will now be passed to Scottish Ministers before the decision can be issued. SNH’s objection suggested the development would have “significant adverse impacts on the crofting landscape” and would be “at odds” with the character of the area.

The Garafad application was supported by the local community council, who cited a need for affordable housing in the area.

When considering the original application in 2011 the Crofting Commission had noted: “Approximately 60 per cent of this land is good quality arable ground which could be easily cultivated with the remainder being rough grazing.”

In 2011 the Commission — as part of a pilot scheme when planning and decrofting applications were being considered concurrently — objected to proposals to remove the entire 1.46 hectare holding at 22 Garafad from crofting use.

Meanwhile, this week approval was also given for an application to convert a shed at Eyre, Kensaleyre, into a holiday let.