Plans to turn disused Highland station into craft centre

The old Highland rail station has fallen into disrepair

Plans to turn a disused Highland railway station into a craft centre have been recommended for approval, despite a number of objections.

Revack Lodge Estate is hoping to win permission to renovate the station to open a craft shop and Highland games demonstration area on their land near Grantown.

But a number of objections have been received against the plans, with many raising concerns about the planned new access to the site from the busy A95 Aviemore to Elgin road.

The Badenoch and Strathspey Conservation Group has also spoken out against the plans because of the impact on wildlife and plants found in the area.

The plans will considered by the Cairngorm National Park Authority (CNPA) planning committee on Friday at a meeting in Ballater, Aberdeenshire.

The plans involve the refurbishment of the existing station building as well as outdoor demonstration area for Highland games and Clydesdale horses.

A railway carriage would also be converted into a cafe, while parking for 40 cars and two coaches would be provided.

The station has been abandoned for more than 50 years and has been described as in an “untidy and semi-derelict” condition by CNPA planners.

The estate plan to host a maximum of three shows per day, mostly at weekends between Easter and October.

The plans have won the backing of both Grantown and Nethy Bridge community councils, although the latter said the applicant had to take note of neighbours concerns about traffic and noise.

The report due to go before the planning committee later this week said: “The proposed development is considered to have considerable potential to the local economy providing a unique and interesting visitor experience which along with the cafe may be of benefit to visitors and residents alike.

“It can be developed without detriment to the local environment and residents providing suitable planning conditions are imposed to ensure any impacts are mitigated and that enhancements to both bio-diversity and landscape are achieved.”