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Yours for £1! Community group to take over Bonar Bridge public toilets and picnic site

By Caroline McMorran

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Sutherland councillors have agreed that a community group can take ownership of a Highland Council owned visitor stopping-off area at Bonar Bridge.

Members of Sutherland County Committee today sanctioned a transfer of asset of South Bonar public toilets, picnic area and 16-space car park to the Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust (KoSDT).

The site in question is at South Bonar.
The site in question is at South Bonar.

The site is being transferred for £1 – members heard at their meeting this morning that the market value had been calculated at £20,000.

The Trust intends to develop the facilities available to provide serviced overnight parking for motorhomes and a camping site.

It is also hoped to offer five electric hook-ups for campers; an e-bike charge point; waste facilities for motohomes; a covered eating area and upgraded shower and toilet facilities.

Highland Council community and democratic engagement manager Pablo Mascarenhas said KoSDT was still working to put a funding package together although the group has been awarded around £170,000 from the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund and £71,678 from the Highland Coastal Communities Fund.

Some issues also needed to be resolved included the potential for flooding at the site and land ownership issues – Highland Council does not own the full extent of the South Bonar site requested by the Trust.

"It is a big project," said Mr Mascarenhas.

He said the asset transfer would lead to a £7000 annual saving for the council - the cost of running the public toilets.

"The car park is not of a scale or location for the council to charge, so there is no loss of potential income," he said.

Committee chairman Richard Gale said: "I am particularly pleased with this application. KoSDT have a good, positive track record and they always deliver which is very encouraging. There are a number of issues to overcome but, knowing their track record, this group will be able to do that.

"The enhanced facilities the Trust propose will see reductions to road congestion, littering and human waste from improved toilet and overnight camping provision for visitors to the local community while alleviating pressure from large numbers of tourists in the community."

Fellow East Sutherland and Edderton ward councillor Jim McGillivray said: "I thinks it is an excellent way forward and I am quite sure KoSDT are going into this with their eyes open and have a full costings plan. I am totally in favour."

Community asset transfer requests can be made under the Community Empowerment Act. Details on community asset transfers in Highland and how to apply for them can be found on the council's website at www.highland.gov.uk/cat or email cat@highland.gov.uk

Sutherland Committee approves sale of South Bonar public toilets, picnic area and car park

A community asset transfer application was approved today by Members of The Highland Council’s Sutherland Committee when they agreed to the sale of South Bonar public toilets, picnic area and car park for £1

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