Portree and Braes Community Trust to hold public consultation on parking and motorhome project

If realised, the proposal would see the car park capacity at Bayfield increase to more than 200 spaces.

The Portree and Braes Community Trust are to hold a public consultation event as part of a proposal to develop the existing squash courts in the village into car parking and motorhome facilities.

Working in partnership with the Highland Council and the Portree Tennis and Squash Club, the Trust secured £300,000 of funding at the start of June for the project from the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund subject to conditions.

A planning application was submitted to the Highland Council earlier this month, which is one of seven conditions outlined by the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund. Other stipulations include confirmation of consent from the landowner – the Portree Tennis and Squash Club – and an access agreement for a minimum 20-year, while the Highland Council must also secure match funding.

Last week representatives from the Trust met with the Highland Council team, HIE and the Portree Tennis and Squash Club to discuss the next steps.

The Trust have said that they are planning to hold a drop-in consultation event where they intend to collect feedback not just from residents of Portree but from residents of other parts of the island who commute to the village and from the community councillors who represent them.

Portree and Braes Trust Development Officer Fiona Thomson told the Free Press: “Working in partnership alongside the Highland Council and the tennis and squash club, with guidance from HIE, we are making good progress delivering the planned improvements.

“We still have a few hurdles to overcome in securing ownership of the tennis and squash court land and the remaining match funding, however, the award of £300,000 from the Rural tourism fund has put the community in a very strong position. We’ll be advertising the drop-in consultation event as soon as we have confirmed a date. “

If all funding and support from the community can be secured the project anticipated to be fully implemented by May 2020, with works beginning in January 2020.

This would result in the expansion of the parking area, create an extended hardstanding area in the west Bayfield car park, providing more parking spaces and day parking for motorhomes with waste and water facilities.

Article by Adam Gordon