22 December 2023
Capstone Construction to Gift Ancient Woodland to Invergordon Community Group as Part of Plans for Affordable Housing Development

As part of plans submitted for a much-needed housing development in Invergordon, Capstone Construction will gift part of the land’s ancient woodland to a local community group to be enjoyed for generations to come.

In what is the first major application for new housing in the area since the Cromarty Firth was granted Freeport status, Capstone Construction and the Highland Council have submitted plans to build 79 new homes at the site near Rosskeen on the northern edge of Invergordon. The development - to be sited on a virtually tree free site extending to approximately 6.2 hectares - will comprise a combination of affordable housing and private dwellings as well as associated infrastructure and outdoor recreation areas.

The ramping up of activity at the Port of Nigg and Port of Cromarty Firth -as well as in the supply chain for the two industrial sites - resulting from Freeport status is expected to lead to extensive job creation in the area, with the expected influx of skilled workers putting pressure on an already sparse Easter Ross housing stock.

Plans for woodland neighbouring the new housing development will see quality open spaces developed for the expansion of recreational pursuits for new and existing residents. Informal links will be provided from the developed neighbourhood areas to permeate into the woodland with active travel links for walking and cycling. Trim trails, features for natural play and outdoor gyms are among the facilities which could be created in already occurring clearings along these pathway links

As part of the planning application Capstone Construction is in process of preparing a woodland management plan for the long term protection and enhancement the area of ancient woodland to the north east of the site. The plan will include works to improve biodiversity and foraging opportunities incorporating the recommendations in the ecology report of removing the rhododendron, felling/cutting of dead and dying trees and arranging on site for habitat, and new under planting. It is the intention to explore this area for community ownership similar that in operation at nearby Evanton Community Woodland.

Another area of scheduled ancient woodland to the south of the site will also be subject to a woodland management plan for the long-term protection and enhancement of this area. It will incorporate planting to enhance the new path routes and recreational facilities that will be provided in this area. This area will be more maintained and manicured for public use and enjoyment of outdoor activities.

Capstone Construction Managing Direction, Rhona Donnelly, said: “We have gone to great lengths to make sure the surrounding woodland is not only safeguarded but has improved access for the local community. Our ultimate aim is to gift the ancient woodland to a local community group so that it will be protected for future generations, and we have reached out to POGS (Invergordon) to explore the possibility of them forming the community company to take over the woodland.”



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