Wednesday, 28 October 2021 08:28

Public consultation begins on £15m CairnGorm project

Public consultation begins on £15m CairnGorm project

Plans for a proposed multi-million pound project to turn CairnGorm Mountain into a year-round destination go on public display for the first time this week.

Natural Retreats, which currently operates the mountain, aims to create a “world class mountain destination with all-year-round appeal” by enhancing visitor facilities and broadening the activities available in a project estimated to cost £10million-£15million.

The proposed changes include a replacement day lodge building with food and drink outlets, shops, ski and bike hire, a crèche, adventure zone, gym, offices and conference and event space. There would also be staff bunkhouse accommodation to allow the facilities to open earlier and close later, and a mountain rescue and medical centre.

Additional proposals include an artificial ski slope, mountain biking, increased snow making facilities, improvements to the ski uplift, ski slopes and runs, improved signage and way-finding, and improvements to car parking and landscaping.

Natural Retreats, which plans to use local firms and Scottish materials wherever possible, has already submitted a Proposal of Application Notice (PAN) for the plans, and has met with Highland Council and the Cairngorm National Park to discuss the proposals ahead of submitting a formal planning application for the project.

Consultation events will be held on 28 October, 4 November and 5 November in the Aonach Room of the CairnGorm Mountain Base Station between 11.30am and 7pm. These will allow local people and interested parties to view the proposals, hear from members of the project team and architects Keppie Design, and have their say on the plans.

Adam Gough, Head of Technical Services at Natural Retreats said: “CairnGorm Mountain is one of the most beautiful and most visited places in Scotland. We want to create a world class facility that matches the stunning setting and increases the long term economic benefit to the local communities in the Badenoch and Strathspey area.

“Current activities on the mountain are heavily weather-dependent and the buildings are no longer fit for purpose. This project will address both of these problems and transform CairnGorm into a four-season mountain destination. We expect that this additional activity at the mountain will result in the creation of an additional 40-50 jobs.

“As part of the planning process, we have already carried out a number of pre-consultation meetings with Highland Council and Cairngorm National Park and we have been greatly encouraged by the positive response so far.

“We are now keen to hear the views and feedback on our plans from as many tourists, local people and businesses as possible at these consultation events. The responses that we receive will then be taken into account as we move forward. We will keep participants up to date with the progress we make with our detailed plans prior to our planning applications being submitted early next year. I truly believe our plans will elevate CairnGorm Mountain to one of Europe’s top leisure and adventure destinations, which would be a fantastic boost to the area’s economy.”

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