Plans for Ionad Hiort - the St Kilda Centre - have taken a significant step forward with the granting of planning permission in principle for the Geodha Sgoilt site in the Uig area of Lewis.

This applies to the first phase of the project - ‘A Chiad Cheum’ -which includes a flexible new-build visitor and research centre, office space and toilets with car parking and road access.

Iain Buchanan, chairman of Ionad Hiort, said: “This is an important milestone which has involved a great deal of preparatory work. It will give confidence to potential funders with whom discussions are continuing.”

The first phase of the centre will offers a ‘remote access’ visitor experience to elements of the St Kildan cultural tradition and environment. It will also act as a research and curatorial base for year round activity.

A Chiad Cheum will  reflect a central tenet of the Ionad Hiort project -  the Gaelic heritage of St Kilda. It is anticipated that the next stage will include walkways, trails and viewpoints to explore the external environment.

Iain Buchanan thanked Skye- based Dualchas architects and Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter of Oslo for their continuing commitment to the project and their contribution to meeting the challenges of this application.

There are a number of standard conditions applied to the consent in principle including detailed plans for the road lay-out and an “archaeological desk-based assessment”.