Published: 09/03/2018 17:00 - Updated: 09/03/2018 10:02

Caithness quarry firm plans camping site in Melvich


Melvich community council chairwoman Tina Wrighton.


PLANS to provide yet more budget accommodation on the North Coast 500 tourism route have been revealed.

A Caithness civil engineering and quarry company is behind a project to construct a substantial camping and caravan site on Sutherland’s north coast.

Family run firm A&W Sinclair, Watten, are hoping to build the site on 1.9 hectares of agricultural land opposite Loch End, Melvich – next to Loch Mor and opposite the disused Melvich gravel pit.

An application for planning consent has been lodged with Highland Council.

Established in 1922, A&W Sinclair operate two quarries and also undertake construction work, plant hire, and haulage contracts.

According to background papers the new site, accessed off the A836 main north coast road, would have capacity for 24 caravans, 15 tents and nine camper vans.

Eight camping pods are also planned as well as a shower block cum reception area and shop and spaces for 56 cars.

A&W Sinclair was contacted by the Northern Times for comment but were reluctant to do so prior to planning consent being granted.

Melvich Community Council chairwoman Tina Wrighton said: "The community council has asked for a meeting regarding this planning application to better understand what’s being proposed.

"We are obviously keen to support all potential new business developments in the area to support the increase in visitors as part of the NC500."

Meanwhile, the operators of an established touring caravan and campsite at Melvich are hoping to extend and refurbish it.

Located directly off the A836 at the south end of the village, the North Coast Touring Park is linked with the adjacent Halladale Inn bar and restaurant.

Operators North Coast Leisure Ltd are seeking consent to replace the site’s utilities block and upgrade the access route as well as site three additional camping pods.

Entrepreneurs have rushed to provide accommodation of all types since the creation of NC500 which has seen increasing numbers of visitors touring the north Highlands.

Applications have ranged from the planned conversion of a historic barn to a bunkhouse and accommodation pods, bothies and lodges sited in gardens to larger scale projects such as caravan and camping sites.

In September Kinlochbervie native Alexander Munro was given the green light to build a 32-bed hostel and 18 cabin glamping site on croft land he owns at Oldshoremore.

At the time Mr Munro claimed that some visitors to the north Highlands were having to sleep rough or in their vehicles because of a lack of budget accommodation.

He said more bed spaces were required, particularly in and around rural villages.

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