Glamping pods give comhairle planning problems

Point councillor Norrie T MacDonald has called for a ‘wider debate’ to be held on the future development of camping pods on crofting lands across the Western Isles, writes Peter Urpeth, Local Democracy Reporter.

Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 2:20 pm

Speaking during a recent meeting of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Planning Applications Board, Cllr MacDonald said that he was concerned that a situation could arise in the future where “every second croft” has a pod on it.

He said: “I think in the last four years certainly, we’ve approved (planning applications) in excess of a couple hundred and I know, with planning regulations, it is difficult for us to have anything other than approval. But, my worry is at what point do we get over-burdened?

"There’s going to come a point where every single person with a croft is going to put one on it, and the legislation doesn’t give us enough tools at our disposal to refuse these applications because we cannot refuse them if they’re competent as planning applications, and they fit the local plan.”

Cllr John N MacLeod said that he was concerned that the pods were getting “bigger and bigger” and at their potential implications for local infrastructure and services, including water and sewerage in future years.

Cllr Norman A MacDonald (Uig and North Lochs) agreed with many of the the sentiments expressed.

He told the meeting: “I think there is an issue here with regard to crofting, and I think, as a Comhairle we should have conversations with the Crofting Federation and others who have an interest, particularly the landowners, as to how to move forward.”