The lease of Fortrose and Rosemarkie campsites will be renewed for a further 30 years, Ross-shire councillors agreed yesterday, despite an attempt by the local community council to have the matter deferred for further consultation.
At the first meeting of the Dingwall, Seaforth and Black Isle committee – one of three new committees created by splitting up the former Ross & Cromarty committee – chairman Gordon Adam said consultation showed the community overwhelmingly supported the lease renewal, with praise for the current lessees and their positive impact locally.
Fortrose and Rosemarkie community council has raised several areas of concern about the renewal.
They queried the low rent being charged at under £15,000 for both sites, suggesting it was poor value for the common good fund, which manages the leases.
Dr Tom Heath of Fortrose and Rosemarkie community council wrote to local councillors to ask how the figure had been reached.
He said: “We have been advised that dependent on facilities and location a campsite lessee might expect to pay between 10 and 20% of revenue in rent.
“Our current estimate is that the lessees of both campsites in our ward pay between 2 and 3% of revenue, undervaluing the sites by a very large factor.”
Dr Heath said his long term concern was that there would not be enough money in the common good fund to deal with the serious coastal erosion threatening the sites.
Mr Adam said: “We took advice from the council’s estates team who have compared the sites with other sites across Scotland.
“We felt putting the sites on the open market as the community council wanted was too risky.”
Certain legal procedures have to be undertaken through the sheriff court before the leases can be renewed.
The committee yesterday agreed that once these procedures were complete, the lease would be granted from that date, rather than from 2026, when the lease was due to expire.