Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Inverness retail park could get new store, Lochaber inn tries for new look and Nairn Academy plans

This week's Planning Ahead covers Inverness, Lochaber, Sutherland and Nairn
This week's Planning Ahead covers Inverness, Lochaber, Sutherland and Nairn

Welcome to Planning Ahead, covering some of the major applications and decisions in the Highlands.

This week, we have big changes planned for the Ben Nevis inn, where hopes are high an extension could beat the midges and rain and make the 200-year-old inn more dog-friendly.

In Inverness, the Telford Street shops could soon have a new neighbour, after the council approved a change of class that could allow The Food Warehouse to move in to a long-vacant site.

There are new dates and a signal of intent to get plans for a new Nairn Academy moving.

Throw in a wilderness education centre for Sutherland, and what more could you want?

Ben Nevis Inn has lofty plans

It is an amazing part of the world that boasts the country’s highest mountain – and attracts tourists in their droves.

But the tales of midges and rain in Lochaber are more than just cliches, they are a problem that needs a workaround.

Tom Hadfield, who runs the iconic Ben Nevis Inn at Achintee, thinks he has found the answer.

Mr Hadfield, of Winchester Foods Ltd, has put forward proposals for an extension to the rear of the inn.

The plans include an overspill seating area/sheltered beer garden with a small bar. There would also be better and extra kitchen and food storage face and staff areas.

The site of the proposed extension is currently a beer garden at the rear of the
existing building.

What the Ben Nevis Inn could look like.

The application says the beer garden is in constant use – “despite the questionable weather conditions and the abundance of midges”.

There is an existing consented planning approval on the site for a bunkhouse.

Beating the midges and rain

Mr Hadfield, who has operated the inn for 15 years, says the pandemic has brought to a head a layout problem at the inn.

He added: “We do have plenty of outside space which cannot always be fully utilized to its best potential due (to) the local weather conditions and the midges.”

He says they are “incredibly busy” during the summer from Ben Nevis walkers – but they have to move them on for restaurant bookings in the evening.

Mr Hadfield added: “…quite regularly we infuriate our would-be customers. If we had more space for people, they would be able to drink and eat at their leisure and soak up some Highland hospitality.”

He also said the extension would allow customers to bring dogs inside.

He has hopes of creating further revenue – and another five permanent jobs – by doing breakfasts.

One step closer to a Food Warehouse

79A Telford Street in Inverness has been vacant for six years, despite some interest before the pandemic.

Now, site owner NewRiver Retail (Napier) Limited has been permitted to vary a condition of planning permission to allow for the sale of Class 1 food and convenience goods.

According to the planning statement, this means that The Food Warehouse could move in.

The Food Warehouse, part of the Iceland Food Group, will keep their city centre Iceland store.

A Food Warehouse store in Swansea

At the moment, the unit is occupied by a Forces Support charity shop.

The application was permitted this month by Highland Council planners, with some conditions.

The applicants cannot start any development until a landscaping programme is approved.

This is to enhance the appearance of the site and improve accessibility for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users.

They must also have bicycle racks and a bike store.

Sutherland wilderness centre

Further north, plans for a wilderness education centre on a Sutherland estate have been approved.

The Alladale Wilderness Reserve, west of Ardgay, lodged plans to build a new timber building in its garden.

The new building will be used as an education centre for small groups “to be instructed about the reserve’s wildlife and garden”.

Alladale’s plans.

A design statement submitted to planners reads: “Small groups of eight to 10 students will be taught a wide range of subjects relating to the production of microgreens, herbs, fruit and vegetables.

“To help promote the educational aspect of the building, Samsung UK are to supply equipment which will digitally stream selected video of the daily life of the gardens in real time to schools, colleges and other educational centres both in the Highlands and around the world.”

The plans have been approved by Highland Council on condition the centre is never used as overnight accommodation.

Nairn Academy consultations

Meanwhile, Highland Council have added two more chances for pupils, parents and residents generally to air their views about a new Nairn Academy.

The council’s agents have submitted a Proposal of Application Notice (PAN) – the very broad first step towards a much-needed new school.

In the statement, they say the project “comprises of the design and construction” of a replacement school.

There has already been a consultation about Nairn Academy. DCT Media

It will be “within the site of existing secondary school” and have sports pitches, car parking and landscaping.

They are also applying to demolish the existing school.

A consultation in June threw up questions about whether the new school would be big enough.

The new consultation dates are September 6 from 4pm to 7pm at Nairn Academy, and September 9 online.

Further planning applications can be viewed using Highland Council’s portal.

Spotted any plans you think we should know about? Get in touch at

Are you interested in more exclusive and breaking Highland and Islands news from the P&J? If so, why not join our dedicated Facebook page HERE