I posted on this Forum a month or so ago and have watched with interest the participation (or lack of) by the people of Drumnadrochit, Lewiston, and Bunloit. In my small circle of local friends and acquaintances I am surprised how few of them are aware of your intentions. I can only assume that the pandemic means that despite your best efforts to communicate online, this is not reaching a lot of local people. Thus I continue to share my views, particularly my concerns about your proposed property developments.
You responded to fletch164’s post that on the margin of wildland the development of houses and workshops should be considered appropriate. Have you not considered that the margins of your wildland are in fact the villages of Drumnadrochit and Lewiston and that it would be more sustainable to make use of the available in-fill development sites for your eco-homes? Or that there are already areas identified on the Local Plan for workshops in the village, and that it would be more suitable (and sustainable) to provide your workshops nearer to the local communities you want to serve? Housing your future employees on-site at Bunloit, when there is a village so local to Bunloit with all the necessary facilities, raises many questions of sustainability, particularly when taken in conjunction with the challenges of commuting up and down the Bunloit Hill for daily essentials and schooling. And just to emphasise why I am suggesting these alternatives – the site of your property development is less than a mile from Scotmid and the Health Centre (as the crow flies), and only 1.3miles by road, so why create another new development?
The pandemic has created a significant change in shopping habits which are not expected to revert post Covid. Most households use the internet for shopping and extensive home deliveries are the new norm. Already the number of couriers delivering to the existing households at Bunloit and Grotaig on a daily basis has increased significantly. Add to this the tourist traffic (which you and your project team have yet to experience as you have not lived here pre-pandemic), travel up this hill road is becoming ever more unsustainable. I would go so far as to suggest that the limits of the road have already been exceeded without adding a further 16 new households and (at least) 7 new businesses in the proposed workshops.
Is it really in the best interests of the local community, many of whom use the Bunloit area (and specifically the Bunloit Hill) for dog walking, horse-riding, cycling and running, to put so much more traffic onto this one and only access road, particularly when there are so many options available in the local village for your ideas?
Finally on the subject of sustainability, the altitude and exposure of the area of proposed development raises many questions/challenges and it would be interesting to know how many of your supporters would actually consider living up at Bunloit if they had the opportunity? Living at Bunloit for 365 days a year is not for the faint hearted! In normal winters Bunloit can be covered by snow for weeks at a time whilst less than a mile away Drumnadrochit escapes this snow cover. The challenges of keeping access roads and driveways clear of compacted snow and ice provide an ongoing challenge to local residents, (and I refer to those who actually remain living up here through the winter as many don’t!). Also, the growing season up at Bunloit can be severely curtailed by the lengthy period of snow cover and late frosts. Thus the only viable way to extend the growing season is to make use greenhouses/poly-tunnels. Be prepared to spend a lot of time in the middle of gales and snow storms clearing them of snow (or they are likely to collapse), or blow away as the site is significantly exposed. None of these challenging conditions are usual for the village of Drumnadrochit situated on the fringes of your wildland.