Legal challenge to Cairngorms housing plans

Plans for massive new housing inside the Cairngorms national park could be sunk by legal action being brought by three Scottish based environment groups in the Court of Session.

The groups are challenging the Cairngoms national park authority’s housing plans which provides for over 2000 new homes, including 1500 at An Camas Mor, near Aviemore, which, it is claimed, would be the largest housing development in any UK national park.

The Cairngorms Campaign, the Scottish Campaign for National Parks, and the Badenoch and Strathspey Conservation Group are also challenging developments at Grantown-on-Spey, Nethy Bridge, Carrbridge and Kingussie.

The park authority has shared responsibility for planning, and the three are arguing that the authority’s housing allocations are so large and environmentally damaging that the authority is failing in its legal duty to “conserve and enhance the natural and cultural heritage of the area”.

Bill McDermott, the groups’ spokesman who is also chairman of the Scottish Campaign for National Parks, said: “The park authority has been acting as the developers’ friend. It should be a conservation agency not a development agency.

“There was a public local enquiry into the park authority’s Plan, and we felt natural justice was ignored when the park authority failed to follow the Reporter’s recommendations.

“We’re fully aware of the need to house local people, and have well-balanced communities with homes for young people who couldn’t otherwise afford to live in the park. But the authority will trash the park the way they’re going. Theirs is a recipe for masses of holiday homes, and social incohesion.”

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