Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Friday 17 March 2006

Inverness golf and hotel complex plan approved

The plan will involve two 18-hole golf courses, a driving range, clubhouse and a 57-bedroom hotel at Castle Stuart, Dalcross, near Inverness. Dalcross is the airport for Inverness.

There have been rumours for some months that developers wished to create a satellite settlement outside Inverness, which has been growing rapidly in recent years, with an eventual population of around 10,000 people. The site favoured was in the Castle Stuart area and the new settlement is to be called 'Castle Stuart'. There has been a lot of local opposition to this plan, both from within Inverness itself and from Nairn, where I live, as there are fears (which I don't share) that the area is becoming over-saturated and that local service won't be able to cope. For years this area, which has a total population of not much more than 200,000 in a land area of roughly one-third of Scotland (about 10,000 square miles - the largest local government area in western Europe), has suffered from high unemployment and the sparse and mainly spread out population has meant that most local services are concentrated in the few existing urbanised areas, which together house at least half the total population. Now that the local economy is at last growing a little healthier, albeit with a high proportion of 'makey-workey' state sector employment, there are some stick-in-the-muds who want there to be no new development, because they find it convenient for this whole area to remain an empty, beautiful (but bleak) outpost. I am glad to see that the local planning people have overridden the local objections to the golf and hotel complex and I hope they will continue to back innovative developments for our area, which can only bring in valuable new investment and vibrancy to the local economy.

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