The Cairngorms National Park Planning Committee has approved two major planning applications at its meeting in Ballater last week.
A new grandstand and visitor centre for the Braemar Highland Games and eight affordable homes for Ballater were among the applications approved by the Planning Committee of the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) when they met in Ballater on June 6.
The Braemar Royal Highland Charity is behind current plans to demolish the existing West Stand overlooking the Princess Royal and Duke of Fife Memorial Park.
The existing stand has stood at the site for around 30 years having been built during the 1970s. It will be replaced by a new grandstand, which is set to incorporate a visitor centre, exhibition space, office area, retail area and cafeteria.
The Braemar Royal Highland Charity confirmed that the cost of the new grandstand would be approximately £2.5 million. The organisation is undergoing a big fundraising exercise to cover the cost of the new stand, which will also include seating. The Charity is set to meet on Friday June 13 to discuss their fundraising efforts.
The new building will provide year-round facilities and give visitors the chance to learn more about the culture and history of the traditional Highland Games.
CNPA Board Member Brian Wood said: “I am delighted to be able to support this application. The Braemar Highland Games are known the world over and attract visitors from far and wide. To be able to offer improved facilities that can be accessed all the year round, not just on Games Day, will be very beneficial to the whole community.”
The CNPA also approved an application from Aberdeenshire Council for eight new affordable houses for rent, just off Ballater’s Patrick Geddes Drive. The two-bedroom properties will occupy a site which is currently open space, with a small play park which is to be relocated nearby.
Planning Committee Convener Eleanor Mackintosh said: “Like many communities in the Cairngorms National Park, Ballater desperately needs affordable housing so I very much welcome this application from Aberdeenshire Council. It’s in a good central location and handy for local amenities and facilities.”