Glamping pods plan would encourage longer tourist stays in the north, says applicant
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Four glamping pods – planned at a site at Auckengill, near Wick – would operate all year-round, encourage prolonged tourist stays in the area and support local visitor attractions and businesses.
That is the aim behind the application lodged with Highland Council by Paul Hetherington from Gleneagles. He wants a change of use of land and the installation of the pods, associated drainage and access infrastructure at the site at Tansey at Auckengill, ten miles north of Wick.
The pods would be en-suite with private decking, associated footpaths, refuse and recycling storage, eight parking spaces and a service/storage building. The site would be landscaped with trees, hedges and shrubbery native to the area. Mr Hetherington also intends to add electric vehicle charging points in the parking areas and solar panels to the roof of the service building in the future.
The glamping pods would be constructed off-site and delivered as a complete unit, ready to be connected to services. The choice of glamping pods aims to minimise disruption to the site and surrounding area as much as possible, according to a design statement which accompanies the application.
It says: "The small-scale development will provide subtle and discreet rural accommodation for tourists visiting local attractions on short breaks and weekend stays. It is the intention of the applicant to have a number of benefits to the local economy of Caithness by promoting local amenities such as shops, cafes, and restaurants as well as local tourist attractions and activities.
"Bicycle storage with bike lending will be available to guests to promote sustainable travel when exploring the area. Guests will also be encouraged to spend time outdoors to appreciate the natural surroundings.
"An existing gated field entrance will be improved to provide access to the site and boundaries will be landscaped with hedgerows to provide visual screening. There are no neighbouring dwellings within 170 metres of the proposed site, other than the applicant’s own residence, so the local community will not be negatively affected by noise from the proposed site. Noise is anticipated to be minimal."
The document points out that the proposed pods are designed and constructed to be extremely energy efficient, are small in heigh and clad in natural materials to blend in with their surroundings.
It adds: "A suitable waste management strategy will be in place during operation. Adequate refuse and recycling storage will be easily accessible to all guests and the site operator will ensure bins are moved to the public roadside on collection days."
The application is said to be under consideration.