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Cairngorms local plan challenge ends

Words: Huw Morris
Cairngorms National Park

A legal challenge to the Cairngorms National Park’s local plan has been abandoned.

The appeal by three environmental bodies failed in the courts twice before the appellants went to the UK Supreme Court in 2013, where a date for a hearing had yet to be set.

The Cairngorms Campaign, the Scottish Campaign for National Parks and the Badenoch & Strathspey Conservation Group have decided not to proceed any further and have paid the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) £38,000 towards costs.

The bodies had claimed that in approving the plan the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) failed in its duty to "conserve and enhance the natural and cultural heritage of the area".

The local plan has been replaced by a new local development plan which was adopted earlier this year. The plan includes a proposal for a “sustainable community” of up to 1,500 homes at An Camas Mòr, near Aviemore.

“The first Local Plan for the Cairngorms National Park had been through a thorough consultation process as well as a public local inquiry before being adopted in October 2010," said CNPA chief executive Grant Moir. "Two court judgements already resulted in the appellant’s arguments being rejected so we were understandably extremely disappointed by them appealing to the UK Supreme Court.

“I am obviously delighted that this is now the end of the matter but disappointed that it was not brought to an end sooner. The significant legal fees are not the only issue; we’ve invested a considerable amount of staff time and energy defending the appeal over the last few years."