Published: 05/01/2018 12:29 - Updated: 05/01/2018 12:34

Helmsdale planning application hangs in balance


Highland Council will make a decision on Wednesday
Highland Council will make a decision on Wednesday


A SUTHERLAND landowner’s bid to build a home on her croft is hanging in the balance.

Highland Council officers threw out Lorraine Cole’s application to build a house on her land to the north-west of Errachail, Loth, Helmsdale.

But the owner, who is returning to the area after years away, has appealed to councillors to grant the application, saying her croft will benefit the fragile rural community.

Planning official Bob Scott refused the application in June, saying the house is not in keeping with the area and that the local road structure cannot cope with an additional house.

But this was disputed by Ms Cole, who said she plans to introduce an access road, as well as an additional passing place near to the junction on to the A9.

She said: “Having spent several years outwith the area we are now committed to returning home and utilising the croft land to its full potential.

“We are keen to emulate the traditional croft house appearance kept with a simple design with clean lines, a one and a half storey building with a slate roof and skylights.

“Our design is traditional, based on croft house appearance and sited to the rear of the nearest neighbour.

“The construction of a passing place at the site entrance will be of added benefit to the local community, aiding traffic flow and safety.”

Ms Cole added that if the house is refused it will add traffic to the road as she will have to bring her tractor on and off of the site every day.

“The road is already frequented by postal services, refuse wagons, fuel vehicles and delivery lorries.

“Considering we will be working the croft to its full potential, should we be refused planning permission this would result in increased movements by a tractor and frequent car journeys.

“Living on the croft cuts out all tractor journeys and greatly reduces car journeys.”

The application will be decided by the planning review body on Wednesday.

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