9-May-2024 Big step forward for Calanais Visitor Centre as CnES approves plans

A major milestone has been reached today as Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (CnES) grant planning permission for the exciting redevelopment of The Calanais Visitor Centre. This announcement allows the centre to move forward with its long-term goal of transforming into a 5-star visitor attraction and a first-class community facility.

“We are thrilled that our plans have been approved for this major project,” said Ian Fordham, Chair of Urras nan Tursachan the charity that runs the Calanais Visitor Centre. “It has been quite a journey getting to this stage and would not have been possible without the support of our local community and wider stakeholders. The redevelopment of the centre has been a long-term ambition of the community and over the last fourteen years local involvement has ensured the project reflects the aspirations of the community and respects the ancient heritage of our neighbouring Calanais Standing Stones.”

The centre will undergo extensive architectural improvements integrating the existing building with new extensions allowing for much improved facilities to be provided. Urras nan Tursachan give their thanks to local CnES planning and JM Architects design team for working with them to achieve the best design possible within the constraints of the site.

Ian Fordham also expressed particular thanks to Highlands and Islands Enterprise who funded the planning phase of the project saying, “The trust is grateful for their ongoing support in the delivery of the Calanais 2025 initiative.” HIE have been closely involved in the project from the outset and comment, “HIE welcomes this significant milestone for the redevelopment of the Calanais Visitor Centre and what it could mean for the organisation, the place, and the product. We look forward to seeing this project progress.”

Community Board member Kenny Maclennan MBE and Chair of local community land owned estate Urras Oighreachd Charlabhaigh also reflects positive local opinion, “This indeed is a major step forward for the re-development of our visitor centre at Calanais. The current centre has been an integral part of this community for the past 30 years and this is now a huge milestone as the proposed re-development project moves forward. The community here are fully supportive of the project and are looking forward to the long-term benefits that will come in the form of job opportunities and an enhanced visitor experience. We are looking forward to the works getting under way very soon and having a state-of-the-art visitor centre “.

Looking to the future Ian Fordham said, “The charity looks forward to continuing to work with stakeholders to ensure the successful delivery of this exciting improvement to our local infrastructure. This approval of planning permission marks a crucial step forward in the project’s progress and we are now on track to move forward, pending the securing of the full funding package.”