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Planned housing development site at Castletown up for sale

By Gordon Calder

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THE site of a planned housing development on the outskirts of Castletown has been put up for sale.

Scotia Homes Ltd, based in Aberdeenshire, intended to convert old buildings at Castlehill and land nearby into 34 homes.

The company acquired the site a number of years ago but put its plans on hold at the time of the economic crash in 2008. It said it was keen to go ahead with the development when the market conditions were right but has now decided to put the site up for sale.

It is understood no closing date or price has been set but the company is looking for offers.

The sale is being handled by Bidwells in Inverness.

Its website describes the site as consisting of a range of traditional buildings with an area of arable land immediately adjacent, extending to approximately 6.67 acres (2.7 hectares).

Bidwells says that Castlehill lies within 700 metres of "the hugely popular" North Coast 500 route which has increased the number of visitors to the area.

"This development site represents a fantastic opportunity to explore the potential offered by this dramatic rise in visitors from all over the world who are now discovering the Caithness coast," it says. "Providers of accommodation and visitor attractions have benefited from this, with the total economic impact in the Highlands reaching £1.2 billion in 2016.

"There is scope for a variety of uses that will benefit from the stunning surroundings and rich cultural heritage that are drawing increasing numbers of visitors to the area."

The website adds: "Castlehill benefits from planning consent for conversion of the steading to form six residential dwellings and the erection of 28 further residential properties. There has also previously been consent obtained for an element of retail on the site.

"There has been renewed interest in refurbishment of traditional buildings, in conjunction with the growing investment in tourist accommodation and attractions seen both locally and in the wider Caithness area."

Scotia Homes' land and planning manager Martin Forbes said: "Development in Caithness is currently outwith our area of operation, therefore the options under consideration for the site at Castletown include marketing the site for sale, and in this regard we have received a number of positive enquiries from prospective purchasers. Consideration of these is ongoing."

He added: "We will continue to work with Highland Council in relation to the current planning approvals. Going forward we will be further reviewing all options, which may include development."

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