Hotel Development –

** update**

Proposed Hotel- Update 21/02/2020

Good Evening All

In keeping with my commitment to let you know factual information as it becomes available regarding progress in the investigation and feasibility study to commence consultations with the community and LCDC regarding a potential hotel development please see below an email sent to us (LCDC) today from the directors of Bealach Ltd, the potential developer, which is self explanatory.

I have also included below the statement received last night from Bell Ingram again confirming that no agreement has or had been entered into for the sale of land in Kirkton Woodland.

I am also in possession of the list of 7 HIE officials who had been involved in discussions with the directors of Bealach Ltd in relation to this project.

These facts clearly substantiate and reflect the status as described by LCDC as the actual position of the enquiry.

Yours sincerely

Colin Sharp – Chair – LCDC

—————————

From: Gregor Bulloch

Date: Fri, 21 Feb 2020 at 09:02

Subject: Bealach update

To: kristine mackenzie

Hi Kristine,

So as mentioned 2 weeks ago in our previous email, the 3 founders of our hotel project (Allan, Gordon and Gregor) have been analysing the project in detail as we are at a critical point when we are about to invest significant funds to take the project forward. We also had a third party provide a detailed financial review for us prior to the formal funding round.

From a financial perspective, the business case has been impacted by both rising build costs and operational costs as well as material risks of Brexit and staffing. The interest rates we were being offered by those banks we were in discussions with were also higher than originally anticipated. These factors combined have limited our ability to create the hotel we had in mind when we started the project.

With all that in mind, we have chosen to put the project on hold indefinitely. We are going to consider other options but for now, please assume no further work will take place.

On behalf of the 3 of us, I’d like to thank you for your efforts to date, it’s been a pleasure to work with you. We are all disappointed that we have been unable to proceed with this but with all things considered, stopping now feels like the right thing to do for all involved, including our partners, as there is no point in us collectively investing more time, effort and money to then stop at a later stage.

Best regards and all the very best for the future,

Allan, Gordon & Gregor.

BEALACH LTD

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Further statement from Bell Ingram

An inaccuracy in our EIA screening submission has been drawn to our attention as it appears to be causing some concern within the community. We can confirm that absolutely no agreement has been entered into for the sale of the land in Kirkton Woodland with any party to our knowledge. All that has been agreed is that we would have permission to make such enquiries as are necessary to establish whether the site at Kirkton Woods is suitable for our intended purpose. If the site proves to be suitable, then we would clearly wish to engage with the Community and Lochcarron Community Development Company at that stage.

Regards Iain B Cram Director Bell Ingram Design Limited,

bellingram.co.uk/services/bellingram-design

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Hotel Development – The Facts- 12/02/2020

We have been approached by several organisations and individuals expressing interest in leasing or potentially purchasing some of the woodland for commercial enterprise. These have ranged from use for storage, manufacture of wood products, manufacture of timber structures to construction of a hotel.

The constitution of LCDC dictates that we must evaluate all approaches made and this we will continue to comply with and of course nothing can be progressed until AFTER community consultation.

At this moment in time LCDC have NOT entered into or agreed to enter into any commercial arrangement with any of these parties nor have we agreed to sell any land whatsoever.

A recent planning application has been misconstrued as an application to construct a hotel when in fact the application, as you will see from the statement below issued by the companies agents, Bell Ingram, is merely to undertake an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). It also incorrectly states that LCDC has agreed to sell the land, this is NOT the case. How could we agree to sell a plot of land without knowing it’s value both in terms of absolute value and value to the proposed purchaser, as you will appreciate the two are not necessarily the same.

I understand local rumour is that this is a budget hotel. This is pure fantasy. From the brief conversation that I have been party to the aim is for 5-star top end accommodation with a Michelin style restaurant. Hardly competition for any of the B&Bs, holiday lets, hotels or eateries already in the village.

LCDC will always ensure that the community are made aware and consulted before any changes are made to the assets of LCDC and this was indeed the agreement that we had with the stakeholders in this case.

As this is only an enquiry at this point it would be far too premature to communicate this widely and this communication seeks to clarify where we are.

We have been made aware of many vitriolic and unfounded criticisms and unfortunately some have seen fit to make personal attacks on members and employees of LCDC which is both ill-informed and unjust.

We have on several occasions and indeed our Chair in his last An Carrannach article asked that should anyone have a question then please ask us and get the truth rather than relying on inaccurate rumour. But then why let the truth get in the way of a good rumour?

Thank you

LCDC Directors.


Statement by the companies agents, Bell Ingram

From early 2019 Bell Ingram have been undertaking a review of the route of the North Coast 500, to establish if there are any suitable sites for new hotels.  One of those sites identified as having potential for such a development was the village of Lochcarron.  The access to a railway station, and the link from the A890 to Kyle of Lochalsh and on to Skye, making it particularly attractive as somewhere travellers might be persuaded to pause and stay for a few days rather than rush off on their way round the north coast.

 As part of this review process we submit an EIA Screening Request to Highland Council to establish if there are any recorded constraints on development in the area, that might have an impact upon any future proposals.  This is still a very speculative stage in any development, and until we have all the necessary information, we would not normally expect to commence any form of community engagement.  We acknowledge that the process of submitting the EIA screening has been the cause of some concern within the community, and embarrassment for Lochcarron Community Development Company, who kindly allowed us to investigate the potential of the land at Kirkton Woods.  We apologise for any unnecessary upset caused by this submission, of which they were not warned in advance. 

If at the end of this review process, Lochcarron remains a site that we would be interested in pursuing, then we will discuss this in detail with LCDC, and present our thoughts and proposals to the community at large.  To do so at this stage would be very premature however, as it is quite possible that we will not move beyond this stage in the Lochcarron area.

Bell Ingram Design Limited,


infosmithyhub@gmail.com

Invitation to Tender for Trail construction in Kirkton Woods.

Invitation to Tender

Trail Construction Contract: 150m ‘as dug’ trail – Kirkton Woods, Lochcarron

With financial assistance from the EU LEADER programme, the Community Woodlands Association invites tenders for the construction of a section of new recreational trail in Kirkton Woods.

Situated north of Lochcarron village on the A896, Kirkton Woods are owned by Lochcarron Community Development Company (LCDC). LCDC are developing a new network of trails within the property – across areas of recently clear-felled plantation for the benefit of the local community and visitors.

Contractors wishing to familiarise themselves with the location, terrain and indicative trail line are invited to visit the woods (pedestrian access from A896/forest road junction). The intended trail route is marked with blue survey flags and shown on the accompanying map (over). A site inspection with CWA’s project manager (chris@communitywoods.org) may be possible at a mutually agreeable time during w/c 4th June.

Specification: The finished trail will have a nominal 1.4m width and be constructed primarily from underlying mixed gravel/sand/clay deposits – taken from locally dug (then back-filled) borrow pits along its length. Organic material (peaty soils, roots/stumps) would be stripped from the trail line to reach a load-bearing subsoil with stripped material sensitively dispersed and landscaped on adjacent ground. Then as-dug material to be deposited and built up on this base and compacted to provide a smooth, finished trail surface. The finished trail surface should be higher than neighbouring ground level and appropriately compacted/finished to make it hard wearing and able to shed any surface water as well as resist groundwater ingress (e.g. using grade reversals along its length or instatement/reinstatement of drains in the vicinity of the trail).

Timescale:    The nominated contractor must complete all works by the end of July 2019. The earliest Start Date would be after tender deadline and award of contract (estimated 18th June).

Contract Terms:    This is a fixed price contract, awarded on assessment of Price, Experience/Competence and Proximity to Kirkton Woods (equal weighting). The Community Woodlands Association is the client and will take on contract management and a site supervisory role A pre-commencement meeting will be required to discuss and agree work methodology, environmental/archaeology protection as well as public safety. The contractor is required to have public liability insurance (minimum £3 million cover) and is expected to manage the day-to-day implementation of all aspects of the contract to the agreed working method (i.e. safety signage, accident reporting etc).

Tender Requirements:      A standard template has been created for completion and submission of necessary contract tender information (attached).

Tender Submission Deadline:      Tenders to be submitted by email to chris@communitywoods.org no later than 9am 15th June 2019.

 

CONTRACT TENDER SUBMISSION

Trail Construction Contract: 150m ‘as dug’ trail – Kirkton Woods, Lochcarron

 Name of Business/Organisation:

 Total Fixed Contract Price (incl VAT):    ………………………………………..

 

Brief Description of Delivery Method: (e.g. no. of workers, types of machinery, contract duration, method etc)

  

  

Example(s) of previous relevant experience: (what, when, for whom, where?)

  

PLI/ELI Insurance cover & value:    …………………………………

Contact Details for tender response/further discussion:

  

Tender Submissions must be received by email by 9am 15th June 2019 to:

CWA Woodland Project Manager: Chris Marsh chris@communitywoods.org

 

PDF version of above available HERE;
CWA LCDC Trails Contract ITT final – 24may19

‘A Cry For Kirkton’- Pupils Film available to view.

The film that the Lochcarron Primary School pupils created  ‘ A cry for Kirkton ‘ is now available to view here via You Tube. The film was a response to their research into the settlement of Kirkton behind Lochcarron- Now our community woodland, many thanks to everyone involved, and to Ray McCartney for uploading and all his work on this.

Kirkton Trading ltd AGM 2018


all welcome to our next trading arm AGM, new directors and office bearers sought. Kirkton trading deals with the non charitable aspects of LCDC’s work, eg, wood harvesting, commercial sales and the wood fuel business. come along to find out more & get involved.
Thursday 15th March 2018, at 7pm in the iGallery at the Smithy hub.

LCDC News. Oct – Nov 2017

Lochcarron Community Development Company News.

October & November 2017

It has been a busy summer for LCDC, the Smithy hub has continued to see a steady flow of visitors to the businesses and facilities there. The treehouse has been getting hired out for regular yoga sessions, meetings, classes and a concert. We have a new e-mail address to book this- it is now; bookingthetreehouse@gmail.com.

IGallery
The igallery is now running on reduced hours to reflect the slowing down of visitors as the season gets past the busiest period. We are indebted to our volunteer staff who have kept it open and ensure that the visitor information point continues to give a friendly and efficient service to welcome people to our area. Sales in the shop were a welcome contribution to LCDC funds.  It is now Open Tuesday to Fridays, 11am – 3pm. It will close for the season on Friday 20th October.

Christmas Fair
We will be having our annual iGallery Christmas Fair from November 27th to December the 8th. If any local crafts makers, producers or artists would like to take part in this or have more information, please get in touch infosmithyhub@gmail.com. It will be closed at weekends as these are always very quiet, Opening times will be 11am- 3pm.

Market Days.
The Lochcarron Monthly market has continued to be an important fundraiser for us, thanks as ever must go out to all the volunteers who make this important local social event possible. The organisation of the kitchen, and the hard work of all the helpers both in and out of the kitchen is something everyone can be proud of. The October fair is Friday the 29th and the last one for the season, we look forward to seeing you there!

Would you like to get involved?
As one of the HIE supported community anchor organisations, together with its Development Officer; LCDC’s  role is to identify, prioritise, develop and deliver sustainable legacy through creative employment opportunities, culture, heritage and educational activities. Overall, to support  social, economic, and cultural activities to strengthen the community  – increase income levels, assist population retention, and enhance community resilience. It is administered by a duly elected board of volunteer directors.

LCDC is currently managing and developing Kirkton woodland, the smithy Community Hub, a Tree house venue for hire, a volunteer run visitor information point, monthly local market days, the ‘iGallery’- a local craft & gift retail space, educational projects with Lochcarron Primary school, housing options, developing a heritage all access footpath network and developing The strathcarron Artisan Dairy project.

With such a wide range of ongoing activities and projects we need to expand the board of directors. We are looking for people with time, commitment, energy and enthusiasm to join our Board and take things to the next level. We are particularly seeking people with good business acumen, experience in catering, general charity administration, building maintenance, good team skills and people with experience managing large projects.

If you would like to get involved at this exciting time please get in touch at infosmithyhub@gmail.com.

Access to Kirkton woodland
Funding has been granted from the Scottish land Fund to purchase a housing plot at Kirkton Gardens to provide a secondary access to Kirkton woodland for potential housing and other development projects. This allows direct access to the woodlands from the Kirkton area. The existing access to the east of the village is the focus for recreational activity development and is also still being used for the Firewood business.

Woodland Classroom
A funding bid for a rustic woodland classroom and composting toilet has been applied for. Additional building materials are being sought by donations. This building will provide a base and shelter for many community and woodland activities within Kirkton Woodland.

Volunteer days in Kirkton Woodland
Our new volunteer activity coordinator Nic has got events off to a flying start with the first event on 11th October. Many thanks to the volunteers who braved the weather that day These will be regular sessions so follow us on Facebook, twitter or this site for times and dates.

Highlife funding-community engagement
Funding has been awarded from Highlife Highland towards a community engagement project. This will take place over this winter. There will be some days of tree planting, storytelling and bush craft with the local children. Trees have been donated by the Woodland trust, the children will create name plaques for the trees and produce a booklet based on traditional stories and wildlife photography.

Defibrillator at the Smithy Hub
The new defibrillator is now in position on the rear wall of the Smithy building at the Smithy Community Hub, this was purchased with generous local donations and is a welcome addition which could help save a life.

Smithy Hub
Though the iGallery and woodturning studio is closed during the winter months, Kiki’s craft corner and Vicky’s Pottery will be busy and open for business as usual. The treehouse is always available as a venue for hire, contact bookingthetreehouse@gmail.com for more information. 

http://www.lochcarroncommunity.com

Volunteer event 11th October 2017

Report from the first of the new programme of volunteer events.

Blue sky and sunshine greeted the small but enthusiastic band of volunteers who met at Kirkton Wood today (Wednesday, 11th October). For half an hour while we laboured on making a flat area suitable for a picnic space, the sun was hot and the birds (well, a local wren) sang. With the onset of rain, we retreated to the shelter of the shipping container thoughtfully provided on site and had a break. The rain came on heavily and we discussed lots more achievable ideas for small but steady improvements to the woods we would like to make. We also discussed which day of the week we should meet, and although Wednesday was fine for the folk present (unsurprisingly), we would be happy to try a weekend day towards the end of this month.

Before work started

We went out again and finished off the picnic site job, before moving on to one of the old houses on the site. We set to removing branches and twigs from round the ruin. Some of the stone used to build the houses is not stable, so we do not recommend climbing on the walls.

We finished after 12.30 and took our muddy tools home. It had been good fun, and with a small friendly group, no injuries, no-one vowing never to return.

Thanks to the genuine volunteers Lorna, Gary and Joe, and to Chris from me, Nic. We hope our next event will be on 25th October, also a Wednesday, but then we may move to a different day of the week. If you like the idea of being useful, having fun and getting dirty, but would like a different day, just leave a note for me and the Development Company team. ( email via infosmithyhub@gmail.com )

Nic Bullivant.

Some of the volunteers in action.

Progress to date on the picnic site. We still have to spread topsoil and grass seed.

Drone photos over Kirkton Wood

These images have been taken by Peter MacKenzie & show the Kirkton area of Lochcarron, the ‘Haven on Earth’ path network, Kirkton woodland and the woodfuel yard in Kirkton wood.

Haven on Earth-part of the Access and Enterprise Programme

 

LCDC is delighted to announce that a funding package has been granted by LEADER Highland to start developing Kirkton Woodland. 50 % was awarded to match funds from Awards for All, the  Postcode Trust and Lochcarron Community Fund and LCDC.

Building on the successful community acquisition of Kirkton Woodland in 2015 and subsequent development of a new Access and Recreation Plan for the woods in early 2016, Lochcarron Community Development Company will be taking forward a range of initiatives aimed at fostering new connections between the woods, the local population and the area’s visitors. A two-year project will deliver pond creation, construction of a new all-abilities trail, wildlife/quiet zone design & tree planting, old drove track restoration, a cleared village heritage interpretation project and provision of new locally-designed Viewpoint ‘furniture’ & signboards. Aspects of each work programme will encourage primary school engagement as well as working with community volunteers, local arts, mental health and disability organisations in the area.

Within the wider community forest, groundworks/landscaping contract will reinstate watercourse and surface drains in the wake of recent tree harvesting disruption to allow future access development to be carried out by volunteer and contracted labour force.

Contracted survey and design work will result in costed plans for a wider network of forest trails linking the local village to long distance hill paths, riverside picnic areas and vantage points as well as developing circular ‘constitutional/jogging/dog walking’ loops.

Feasibility studies will also be produced analysing viability, scale and definition of a number of eco-tourism & business opportunities within the woods:- a memorial/green burial zone, a campsite & off-grid eco-pod venture, pony trekking & mountain biking provision, woodland crofts and a horticultural/growing zone.

this project will directly address the following:-

  • Improved access for residents and visitors to cultural, natural and heritage assets.
  • Increased community ownership/control of assets and services/activities.
  • People feel better supported to undertake volunteering opportunities.
  • Improved management/conservation/sustainability of cultural, natural and heritage assets
  • People have better access to local services and activities.
  • Improvements in the visitor experience.
  • Increased employment opportunities locally through new business start-ups and existing business diversification/development.

The short-term objectives of the project (trail & pond building, cultural heritage & wildlife area, school and volunteer programmes) are an initial step in a longer-term programme of new recreational, eco-tourism and social enterprise development within the woodland by forest owners, Lochcarron Community Development Company. Delivery methods will engage & utilise local volunteers/associations, schools and vulnerable adults to strengthen sense of local control (i.e. empowerment) & social cohesion that ownership of the forest originally set out to engender.

For local residents, this work provides new opportunities for formal and informal recreation in the area whilst fostering a greater appreciation and understanding of local heritage and the natural environment. For visitors – increasingly encouraged to ‘keep driving” and appreciate the unspoilt scenic beauty of Wester Ross through the car/coach window (e.g. North Coast 500, Wester Ross Coastal Trail) – the establishment of new and significant opportunities to stay a while and enjoy the Lochcarron area at a more intimate and leisurely pace are vital to securing local economic benefit for this remote community.

  • Construction of a 580m all-abilities loop trail with new pond, wildlife/quiet zone & amenity planting;
  • Design, create & install new interpretation amongst the ruins of an old cleared village site;
  • Design, construct & install new Viewpoint furniture & signage/artwork;
  • Undertake a programme of old drove track conservation & renovation;
  • Engage (on short term contract) sessional ‘animateurs’ & seasonal conservation volunteer group leaders to ensure aspects of each work programme engages with – and directly involves – different groups within the community;
  • Undertake a formative, landscape-scale groundworks contract to reinstate watercourses & drains in the wake of recent harvesting disruption – to facilitate easier/safe public access & access development;
  • Engage a part-time forest access & enterprise development officer  to:-
  • co-ordinate, supervise and administer all aspects of access project work;
  • survey, design, cost and prepare a future funding plan for a wider network of forest trails;
  • undertake feasibility studies to consider viability, scale & definition of new business & eco-tourism ventures within the woods –specifically ① green burial zone; ② campsite & off-grid eco-pod area; ƒ bespoke pony trekking & mountain biking facility provision; „ woodland crofts and/or a community horticultural zone.20160123_103751 20160123_105119 20150807_192035 20150405_150233 kirkton (55)
    logos

LCDC/ KT NEWS October 2016

The July and August Market Days at Lochcarron Village Hall were exceptionally busy. We want to say a very big ‘Thank you!’ to all the volunteers for their hard work in running this monthly fund-raising event. The October Market Day will be the last one for this year, on Friday 28 October. Next year’s dates are already organised. Come along for a tasty homemade lunch, and browse the stalls selling local art & crafts and produce.

The iGallery at the Smithy Hub will shut for the season on Friday 29th October, giving us time to organise the Christmas Fair in there, running from Monday 21st November to Friday 2nd December, Mon – Fri 11am – 3pm. Anyone who would like to showcase their talents – crafts, baking, produce, etc., will be very welcome. To book a place call us on 01520 722 952, or email infosmithyhub@gmail.com, or pop into the iGallery to discuss your requirements (the sooner the better, as space is at a premium as usual).

The monthly Volunteer Workparty in October will be on Sunday 9th, from 11am – 3pm. Meet up at the Smithy Hub. Wear warm outdoor clothing. Lunch provided. All welcome!

As part of this year’s Highland Archaeology Festival we are holding an exhibition of The History of Kirkton Settlement. A visual timeline from 1583 to 2016. Maps, documents, photographs, text relating to Kirkton . In the Smithy Hub Treehouse, Mon 3rd to Thurs 6th October, 10am to 4pm. Free.

kirkton poster 1 copy barn-door-1

You can download the HAF Events Guide from www.highlandarchaeologyfestival.org 

The Railway Exhibition in the Treehouse throughout September had many visitors. Thank you! to all the folk who have given or lent us historical photos to add to our archive. We still have some photographs to scan and add to the archive and will be working throughout the winter to do this. If you have any historical photos of this locality we would be very grateful to borrow them so we can scan them and add them in. See some of our Heritage Photographs on this website www.lochcarroncommunity.com

We are holding a fund raising event for the Treehouse at Halloween. Spooky Stories by Lynda Beveridge and a Sweetie Hunt on Sunday 30th Oct. 4 – 5.30pm. £3.

haloween-poster

We are currently organising our Autumn/Winter programme of Adult Education classes and courses. What would you like to have on the programme? What classes would you like to attend? Could you run some classes to teach people some skills you have? Please get in touch by email on infosmithyhub@gmail.com

 Micro Dairy and Artisan Kitchen update:

With planning approval granted the next phase of the project engages the services of a professional team, tasked to deliver Stage 2 – 4 drawings and submit for Building Warrant purposes. LCDC is working closely with Just Enterprise, HIE and the Lottery Assets team to deliver this exciting project.

KIRKTON WOODLAND UPDATE;

As you know, this is a long term project, with many different strands.  Our Access and Recreation Plan gives a flavour of our project timelines together with an indication of costs. It is worth noting, that the early stages of development will be heavily reliant on grant funding and therefore subject to amendment

Priorities – Immediate Short Term

Years 2016-2018 – Capital Costs;

  • Construct 1st leg of new forest roading including new woodfuel hardstanding, relocate woodfuel operations Circa £25k
  • General purpose shed to be erected within close proximity to wood yard Circa £40k
  • Reinstate drainage network across entire harvested site. Construct ATV trackway through lower forest area
  • Fund raise and build new all abilities trail around old  settlement  £15k
  • Purchase Woodfuel equipment, forest tractor, processor, log trailer with crane, quad with heavy duty trailer, generator £72k
  • Establish memorial “quiet” zone £25k
  • Clear brash from settlement zone. Re-purpose threshold hard standing for car parking zone
  • Investigate social housing proposals – self build and affordable. Housing Needs Survey carried out Summer 2016
  • Source agreement with private landowner for acquisition to allow new threshold access for woodland trails  Circa £80k including District Valuer and other professional fees
  • Explore options for fencing – neighbouring land ownership boundaries
  • Investigate collaboration with neighbouring landowners to achieve broader, cross-boundary objectives
  • Negotiate standing sale, road building for 2nd tranche clearfell
  • Engage with a broader network of stakeholders
  • Implement lower slope restocking with commercial broadleaf and conifers
  • Continue to clear brash from social zones
dog walking

dog walking

Revenue Costs;

  • Forest Officer – 50%fte Circa  £30k
  • 2 Forest Workers – 50% fte Circa £29k
  • Memorial/Quiet Zone – path, pond, amenity planting Circa £3.5k
  • All abilities heritage trail – circular trail to Kirkton settlement ruins Circa £15k
  • Walk to village trail – paths, hard and soft landscaping Circa £10k
  • Drove Road trail – renovation and drainage Circa £10k
  • Cnoc na Staing Viewpoint – access and furniture upgrade Circa £500
  • Event site – hard and soft landscaping Circa £5k
  • Quad Training £900

Funding applications in support of the above are at various stages of development, some approved, some awaiting a response, some yet to be submitted.

vision statement2