Housing association lodge appeal against refusal of Kyle development

An artist's impression of what the new development would have looked like

An artist’s impression of what the planned development would look like

An appeal has been lodged against a decision to refuse planning permission for 12 new flats and a retail development in Kyle of Lochalsh.

Lochalsh and Skye Housing Association had their proposals for the former Mace shop site rejected by Highland Council’s north planning committee in October.

But in what is believed to be a first for the local housing association, they have taken the appeal to the Scottish Government in a bid to have Highland Council’s ruling overturned.

The plans had been backed by the Kyle and Lochalsh Community Trust, who saw them as a key strand in the regeneration of the village. Alongside the flats, the new building would house three new retail units.

Planning officials had recommended the development be approved, but the main area of concern for objectors, and local councillors, was a lack of parking in the village.

Parking for the development would have been provided by reconfiguring the car park at the Lochalsh Leisure Centre — 125 metres away — to create 12 new spaces.

Biz Campbell HC Portraits 10cm

Lochalsh councillor Biz Campbell opposed the plans

Lochalsh councillor Biz Campbell spoke out against the plans, saying that she supported development on the site “but not on this scale”. Her motion to refuse planning permission was carried.

Lochalsh and Skye Housing Association chief executive Lachie MacDonald believed the flats would help address local housing shortages, while the retail arm could provide economic opportunities.

He added: “It is a dilapidated site, and a lot of work has gone in to come up with a development that would have helped regenerate that part of Kyle.

“After discussing with our own planning consultants, we were advised to appeal and believe we have good grounds for doing so.”

The proposals will now be considered by the Scottish Government’s directorate for planning and environmental appeals, who are expected to report back within four months.

Mr MacDonald said the Scottish Government had been set to give a grant of between £500,000 and £600,000 towards the costs of the Kyle scheme, but that money had now been redeployed elsewhere.