Ski centre allowed to keep access track by national park

Natural Retreats has been allowed to keep the track

A north ski centre has been allowed to keep an access track.

Cairngorms National Park’s planning committee unanimously granted permission retrospectively for the path close to the Shieling Tow mid-station on Cairn Gorm.

Despite granting permission, the committee was critical of the retrospective nature of the application.

Natural Retreats, operator of CairnGorm Mountain ski resort, said retaining the track would minimise disturbance elsewhere because it provides a safe route away from high voltage cables.

The plans proved controversial with mountaineers and conservationists who were concerned about the proliferation of hill tracks and damage to the environment.

A spokesman for the Badenoch and Strathspey Conservation Group said: “We are very concerned at the unacceptable standard of work at this key location that breached SNH guidelines for hill tracks.

“It is imperative that HIE and Natural Retreats take seriously the public concern and heed warnings from the National Park Authority that this must never happen again.”

Janette Jansson, general manager at the ski centre said: “We appreciate the understanding shown by Cairngorm National Park Planning Authority in passing our retrospective application for the Shieling Tow access track.

“We are privileged to operate CairnGorm Mountain and with that comes a huge responsibility to the community and the natural landscape.

“We want to ensure that CairnGorm Mountain is maintained to the highest standards for all to enjoy and we will work closely with CNPA and the local community to ensure we do so.”

Eleanor Mackintosh, convener of the CNPA planning committee said it was “frustrating that the applicants did not gain the correct planning consents” before starting work.