It was great to meet with Gartmore Community Council last night in the village’s newly refurbished Village Hall. What a fantastic asset for the village! We discussed LIVE Park and what the proposed changes to planning policies on housing, economic development and tourism might mean for the Gartmore area.
We stuck a big map in the middle of the table and talked about all the different sites that have been looked at previously and are currently being suggested for housing. Here’s a short summary of our discussion…
First and foremost – rural broadband! This is a major issue and, whilst not something that the local development plan can directly address, it has a bearing on planning and development. How can we grow the rural economy and encourage people to invest in the National Park without improvements to broadband? Without this businesses are unlikely to invest in the area.
Gartmore is a quiet rural village. It has a community-owned and run village shop. The future sustainability of this is dependent on local residents but some felt that Gartmore should be doing all it can to also encourage tourists and visitors to the area to also use the shop. This is something that could be promoted locally via existing tourism providers. We heard that as National Cycle Route 7 passes through Gartmore there might be opportunities for appropriate small scale tourism development in the countryside around the village. This might help draw more people in to the village and in turn support the shop. What do you think?
Some more housing for people living and working locally, especially families, is generally felt to be necessary but the key issue is finding a suitable site for housing. Many potential sites are either constrained due to access or, in the case of sites on the eastern edge of the village, highly sensitive in landscape terms. The proposal to continue to current planning policy approach of supporting affordable housing on sites outside the village boundary (but close to the village) was generally supported as this will allow opportunities to continue to be investigated. This is something that we will continue to work on, in partnership with Rural Stirling Housing Association and the community.
Second and holiday homes were also mentioned as being an emerging issue, with many of the smaller sized cottages on the Main Street now used as second homes.
So, lots still to work on with Gartmore over the coming months.
What do you think about what was discussed last night? We would love to hear your views. We look forward to hearing from you.