Legal challenge lodged to Scots national park local plan

A legal challenge has been lodged to the first local plan prepared by a Scottish national park.

Cairngorms: Legal challenge
The plan supports the building of 1,900 new homes in the Cairngorms National Park, including up to 1,500 in a new community at An Camas Mor near Aviemore, and was adopted in November.

But the Scottish Campaign for National Parks (SCNP), the Cairngorms Campaign and Strathspey Conservation Group are now appealing to the Court of Session, claiming the park authority acted unreasonably by failing to follow a reporter’s recommendation that the housing allocation was excessive.

By adopting the plan, they allege the authority failed in its duty to "conserve and enhance the natural and cultural heritage of the area".

"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," said SCNP chairman Bill McDermott. "But the authority will trash the park the way they're going. Theirs is a recipe for masses of holiday homes and social incohesion."

The groups have launched a fundraising drive to cover their legal costs.

A park authority spokeswoman said it would need time to study the appeal document before responding.

The plan replaces separate documents produced by the four councils covering the park — Aberdeenshire, Angus, Highland and Moray.

In January 2010, reporters Jill Moody and Hugh Begg, who conducted the local plan inquiry, found no evidence that existing settlements would be harmed by development if An Camas Mor did not go ahead. However, the park largely disregarded the recommendations.