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Huge new housing development in Portree looks set to get green light from council

Lochalsh and Skye Housing Association hope to build 248 new homes in Portree.
Lochalsh and Skye Housing Association hope to build 248 new homes in Portree.

Portree could be in line for 248 new homes over the next 20 years, if a major planning application gets the go-ahead from councillors.

Lochalsh and Skye Housing Association have applied for planning in principle for a mixed-use development.

It includes hundreds of new homes which will be delivered in stages over the next two decades.

As part of its master plan, the developer also hopes to create three new business units, a community shop and a care village.

The site is a large, rural area in Sraid An Eorna, just north of the existing NHS dental clinic. While there’s already some development in the area – including an SSE substation – it’s also home to wetlands and peat bog.

The developer has protected a large area to the west of the site for greenspace, drainage and active travel. As a result, both SEPA and the council are happy with the environmental impact of the development.

Challenging site

However, it’s the road network that could prove a sticking point.

Highland Council is preparing to submit plans for a new Portree Link Road, and says the developer must contribute to the cost of the road. The council’s planning report states that phases 1-4 of the development use the existing roads network.

However, later phases rely on a new roundabout. This means the Link Road will need to be completed before the next batch of houses can be built.

Portree and Braes Community Council has objected to the plan, saying the new road should be complete before any work starts.

There were no other objections to the application. Although 248 homes is double the amount in the development plan, the council think the designs work. Planning officials have suggested higher density housing in the lowland parts of the site, with sensitively-designed homes in the high ground.

Lochalsh and Skye Housing Association’s Home Farm development.  Photo: David Whittaker-Smith

The more dense layout will be in keeping with the nearby Home Farm development. The developer plans to create ‘neighbourhood clusters’ each with their own distinct identity.

Site work for Home Farm unearthed three historic artefacts dating back to the Iron Age, so this site has potential archaeological interest too. Historic Environment Scotland has also asked the developer to minimise impact on Dun Gerashader, an Iron Age stone fort.

Largest development in Portree

Lochalsh and Skye will return to the planning committee with more detailed designs as part of its full planning application. This will include details of how and when each batch of new Portree homes will be delivered.

At the moment, there’s little detail about the ‘care village’ except that it will include supported housing. The developer also has plans for significant landscaping and active travel opportunities, as well as a community orchard.

Council planners have recommended the application for approval. If it gets the green light, it will become the largest housing development in Portree.

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