A £10 million-pound hotel and retail/food village at the Tomatin junction on the A9 has been approved by Highland Council.
Over 100 new jobs will be created in the area as a result of the ambitious project which will include a 99-bedroom hotel, farm shop and 200-seater restaurant, drive-through bakery and food outlet, as well as four retail units and a fuel filling station.
The long-delayed plans will also provide a much-needed economic boost for the area and support the region’s growing reputation as a burgeoning tourist destination.
Councillor Duncan Macpherson of Highland Council said: “The development at Tomatin is a welcome addition to the Highland hospitality offering and will create full-time, part-time and managerial jobs in both retail and hospitality. It will fit perfectly with the new dualling of the A9 from Perth to Inverness and be a welcome stop for travelers on the A9 going both North and South.
“The site previously housed the busy Freeburn Hotel, rural filling station and Little Chef restaurant. I look forward to Tomatin Trading Company showcasing the very best in food and drink, local produce and hand-made crafts that the Highlands has to offer. They will be supporting the rural economy and be a most welcome business investment close to Inverness.”
Ruaraidh MacNeil, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said: “The approval of planning permission is a key milestone in the development of this important project. The proposal for Tomatin is well placed to deliver significant benefits for visitors and locals alike, while offering supply chain opportunities for local producers, particularly in the important food and drink sector. I wish them every success with this venture.”
The site was historically occupied by the Freeburn Hotel, which was built in 1895 and was reportedly a stopping off point for Bonnie Prince Charlie. The hotel ceased trading in the 1960s, later became a Little Chef and was eventually demolished in 2008.
The new plans will see the creation of a new retail and food destination on Scotland’s longest road and Tomatin Trading Company are excited about the opportunity to bring high quality Scottish retailers and world-renowned whisky brands to the area
Managing Director William Frame said: “Securing planning permission is an important step forward for Tomatin and I am confident that our hotel and retail/food village will be a valuable addition to the local area and the Tomatin Trading Company will be part of the countries renaissance of all things Highland!
“I have owned the site since 2005 and am proud to be playing my part in meeting the demand for quality, affordable hotel rooms within close proximity of both Aviemore and Inverness and the wide range of attractions on offer in the Highlands and Islands.
“We are also committed to supporting the area by showcasing the best of the region not only in the retail outlets but also through the locally sourced produce in the restaurant and farm shop which will represent the best of Scottish food and drink.”