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Scottish Sustainable Communities Initiative - 2 years on


Exemplar Projects Map

The eleven SSCI exemplar sites comprise:

An Camas Mòr, Aviemore
Craigmillar, Edinburgh
Grandhome, Aberdeen
Knockroon, Cumnock
Ladyfield, Dumfries
Lochgelly, Fife
Maryhill Locks, Glasgow
Raploch, Stirling
Speirs Locks, Glasgow
Tornagrain, near Inverness
Whitecross, Linlithgow

The following pages provide a summary of each of these projects, including their challenges and achievements, over the past two years. This part of the document has been formatted using a standard four-page template for each project. This is to allow for a quick and easy comparison between all of the projects. The information also highlights aspects of the projects that demonstrate adherence to the principles within the Scottish Government Designing Places and Designing Streets policies and key features that have significantly contributed to their successes. Each template is completed with a page dedicated to a 'special focus' of the project, which was specifically supported by the Scottish Government though SSCI.

An Camas Mòr a good habitat for people, to be achieved by concentrating on Life, Space and Buildings

An Camas Mòr a good habitat for people, to be achieved by concentrating on Life, Space and Buildings


+ Local Government: The Highland Council, Cairngorms National Park

+ Site: Rural, Greenfield site

+ Proposal: New Community, Up to 1,500 residential units

+ Approach: Private venture by Rothiemurchus Estate


The proposal is for a free-standing, sustainable village including 1,500 mixed tenure homes, a new secondary school, commercial and business uses, the possible future location of a Highlands & Islands University campus, and a park and recreation corridor along the river.


  • Design challenge: Reconciling the proposed new development with sensitive landscape and habitat issues within a National Park.
  • Time: The pioneering of new approaches to place-centred design can introduce an element of delay due to unfamiliarity.
  • Energy efficiency: Indentifying opportunities for maximising the use of local materials and possibilities for energy use reduction.
  • Cost reductions: Identifying ways of acheiving up front cost reductions.



  • Outline Planning Application submitted: Submitted in May 2009 and was considered favourably.
  • Planning Permission in Principle granted: A unanimous decision resulted in Planning Permission in Principle passed on 11th June 2010.
  • Major changes to road requirements - improving design and reducing cost: The Highland Council has supported the use of an existing road for the first 200 homes.
  • Approach to Section 75: Section 75 commitments to be met on a roof tax basis.
  • Funding Allocations
    1. Project Resonance Report: Outlining arrangements for working with public sector partners to deliver affordable and mid-market rent with right to buy housing. This is on the verge of proceeding.
    2. Energy Report: Summarises the design, expected energy requirement and is shortly to recommend how best to work with an energy provider.

Master Plan

Project Details: The Story

David Sim
David Sim

An Camas Mòr is on the opposite bank of the River Spey to Aviemore in the Cairngorms National Park. Having grown from an inn and a farm to a railway junction in the 19th century, Aviemore started to expand again rapidly in 1960 following investment in the Cairngorm Mountain Ski area.

Since then, the area has become an all year round destination which is very attractive for tourism businesses. However, this growth was not planned and the village has now grown to fill its setting. There has been a long term Aviemore and Vicinity Community Council vision for a new planned settlement to be formed across the river, brought together by a Countryside Park. Rothiemurchus Estate, the Community Council, The Highland Council and the Cairngorms National Park Authority are working together to make this happen.

David Sim of Gehl Architects was approached; Gehl's method is to concentrate on Life, Space and then Buildings - recognising that people, life and vitality must be the main driving force for the design.

Encouraged by the Local Community and working with a wide range of specialists, the vision is now the creation of 'A GOOD HABITAT FOR PEOPLE'. A place that will be a flourishing and resilient community, including up to 1,500 residential units and community and work space.

"We believe that by making An Camas Mòr a sustainable community with a very high level of local jobs, very little commuting and healthy lifestyles will set it apart."

Following an Environmental Impact Assessment, An Camas Mòr was granted Planning Permission in Principle in June 2010 and the developers are working closely with the Cairngorms National Park Authority, The Highland Council and the Highland Housing
Alliance to deliver the first homes in 2012.

Scottish Government Support

  • Support with research for Project Resonance by means of grant funding.
  • Architecture and Design Scotland carried out a dedicated Design Review and an overview of the use of design coding for settlement planning in Scotland advising on its applicability to An Camas Mòr.
  • Explored options of integration of knowledge-based education institutions.


Planning Policy: Theory into Practice

Aspects of how design policy has been turned into practice

coversDesigning Places &Designing Streets

The use of local timber for construction would give the place strong local identity; the vision is of a balanced community with a high quality attractive public realm of streets squares and open spaces that are safe and accessible, within short pleasant walking distances of homes. Walking, as the main form of movement and access, is the key to making the place sustainable as well as protecting and enhancing the immediate and wider environments. The High Street will be the principal public space for human activity, creating a lively and welcoming atmosphere; and some housing is flexible in its design to allow it to be adjusted to family circumstances thus reducing the need to move home as families grow and decline.

The road hierarchy within the community boundary is designed for low speed movement and the grid of streets will be designed to ensure that powered vehicles do not dominate cycle and pedestrian traffic. Surface materials will be selected to provide comfort and safety for all users. The shared surface street layout will be easy to penetrate for walkers and cyclists, and parking will be generally integrated with the housing by the use of pends wherever practicable.

Key Features

  • A busy High Street with work, community and residential space.
  • A safe and welcoming public realm designed to encourage interaction with higher densities in the centre to enable walking to become the first choice of transport.
  • A higher proportion of mid market to rent and/or buy homes using innovative financial models.
  • Sustainable solutions determined by assessing social, environmental and economic outcomes together.
  • Using the Highland setting as a huge asset; with a small footprint and by fitting into its mainly woodland setting, it enhances the natural heritage value of the National Park.

High Street Facades Principle

High Street Facades Principle

Special Focus

Public Meeting Report

Wednesday 8th September 2010

Feedback was sought from those attending the meeting, including a short questionnaire titled 'What would you like your home to be like in
An Camas Mòr?'.

Returned questionnaires were analysed and the results were recorded. Example below:

Pie chart

1. Cottage
2. Bungalow
3. Retirement apartment
4. Sheltered accommodation
5. Terraced house
6. Detached house

In addition to the questionnaire, feedback with regards to layout/building style was also encouraged and a range of photos were displayed for people's comments. Examples of these photos and related comments can be seen opposite.

A public meeting was held at The Four Seasons Hotel, Aviemore on the 8th September 2010 offering two sessions:
1. A drop in afternoon session (3.30pm - 5.30pm) - 20 attendees; and
2. An evening session (7.30pm) with an update and presentations from David Sim of Gehl Architects and Drew MacFarlane-Slack MBE Chairman of the Highland Housing Alliance - 28 attendees.

public meeting