The owner of a historic Highland Perthshire hotel claims a planned upgrade of the A9 will jeopardise her business and put jobs at risk.
Henrietta Fergusson, who took over the landmark Killiecrankie Hotel 12 years ago, fears potential customers will “cruise right past” when the trunk road has been dualled.
She has urged Transport Scotland to rethink its plans for the Killiecrankie to Glen Garry stretch and refuted suggestions construction crews working on the A9 could stay at the hotel to make up for lost trade.
Scottish Ministers are holding a public inquiry at Pitlochry to explore concerns about plans for the 17-mile stretch, part of the mammoth £3 billion scheme to dual the entire A9 between Perth and Inverness.
Ms Fergusson said: “I am not against the upgrading of the A9. I share the view that it is vital for the development of the north of Scotland.
“But I have argued from the outset that the new carriageway should be constructed on the southbound side of the existing road.”
She said the current, revised plan threatens several businesses, including her own.
“I fear for the long-term impact on the Killiecrankie community as a whole. With a dual-carriageway carrying motorists swiftly through north Perthshire, there will be little incentive for passengers and tourists to pull off the road.”
Ms Fergusson said her hotel “would not survive anything like the level of drop in occupancy predicted – even if it is only half-right, our business model will be unsustainable.
“The proposal as it stands risks not only my liveilhood, but the 12 jobs that the hotel supports.”
Ms Fergusson added: “I’m not sure if the added bonus of having construction workers will even go partway to make up for any shortfall.”
Anne MacDonald, who runs the nearby Old Manse of Blair boutique hotel added: “Both Henrietta and I operate in the niche premium end of the market, mainly catering for international clients with a fine-dining experience.
“So the idea that construction workers could fell the gap is, in terms of sub-mitigating losses, absolutely ineffective.”
Tourism professor John Lennon, a witness for Transport Scotland, said that an app is being created to help market and promote parts of Killiecrankie – including the historic battlefield – to encourage people to explore the area.
Mark Lancaster, of Jacobs UK, added: “While Killiecrankie House is considered to be of high sensitivity, the magnitude of change resulting from the proposed scheme is predicted to be low.”
Agents for Transport Scotland state in paperwork submitted to the inquiry that they do not accept the new road will have an adverse impact on the business.
The hearing continues.