PLANS to build five new holiday cabins on stilts near Tarbet have been given the green light by planning chiefs.

The Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority has approved a planning application for the erection of five dwellings and associated ancillary works at the former Bonnie Braes Restaurant at Inverhoulin, a mile to the north of the village.

Original plans for eight cabins were lodged with the National Park in September 2021.

Applicants Fabulously Scottish Hotels plan to demolish the disused cafe building at the site and to introduce self catering accommodation in a design which would “combine luxury, uniqueness and desirability”.

A report published on the park’s website reveals that two representations were received on the plans – one voicing support, the other raising concerns including a lack of safe pedestrian access between the site and Tarbet, the impact of waste water from hot tubs, and the effect on wildlife in the area.

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The report states: “The key design concept is minimally designed cabins of rectangular form (13m x 4m x 3.5m) which are raised on slanted stilts approximately 3m high.

“The design is considered to be appropriate for the woodland setting and comply with Design and Placemaking Guidance. It is a high quality design which would provide a high quality visitor experience.

“The proposal does not raise any concerns in terms of amenity or environmental effects as there are no nearby properties.”

A supporting statement lodged with the application from agents Roxburgh McEwan Architects stated: “Previously utilised as a cafe and dwelling, the [Bonnie Braes] business did not thrive and it has been left uninhabited for several years leading to the building’s disrepair.

“The plot is ideally situated for high quality short term accommodation (identified as being in short supply), being easily approached from the road, with great views and accessibility to hillwalkers, tourists and passing visitors alike.”

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“The cabins are intended to be of exceptional quality, arranged logically, taking account of access and parking, privacy, sunlight and views.

“To the roadside three metre high stilts, with minimal foundations, elevate each cabin in order to both touch the ground lightly and raise the living spaces above road level, in the manner of a treehouse.

“Further protection from traffic is provided by a 1.2 metre gabion wall.”

Drawing inspiration from similar projects in Norway and Germany, the applicants say the pre-fabricated cabins - which would be factory constructed and brought onto site to be installed - will “exploit breathtaking scenery in a minimal way”.

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They also say minimal trees will be affected by the proposal.

Each cabin, designed around the shape of a Celtic cross, will also feature external hot tubs on decks and internal log burning stoves, while the exterior dark zinc facade “will allow the cabins to meld into the landscape allowing nature to remain the focal point”.

Conditions attached to the planning approval state that development work must begin within three years of permission being granted, and that the cabins may not be occupied by any one individual or group for more than 90 days per year.