Hotel plans hand boost to Inverness regeneration

The regeneration of the Highland capital of Inverness could take a major step forward. Picture: Submitted

The regeneration of the Highland capital of Inverness could take a major step forward. Picture: Submitted

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The regeneration of a historic part of Inverness city centre could take a major step forward with developers seeking permission for a seven-storey, four star hotel.

The 156-bedroom hotel is proposed on a 1.4-acre plot of land – the site of the city’s former swimming pool – which has controversially lain derelict for almost 15 year.

Aberdeen company Carlton Rock is planning the development at Glebe Street. And it would include three meeting rooms, a bar, a dining room and a gym.

The land was originally sold by Highland Council to the Tulloch Group, for use as a hotel and conference centre, but that never materialised.

In 2008, planning permission for a four-star 165-bedroom hotel with 80 car parking spaces was granted to Aberdeen-based European Development Company (Inverness Hotel).

However, that also expired without a rock being moved.

Highland Council’s south planning committee is being recommended to approve the latest proposal.

In a report to next week’s meeting, area planning manager Allan Todd said: “The proposal to redevelop the vacant former swimming pool site at Glebe Street with a hotel is welcomed and is considered an acceptable and appropriate use of

the site.

“It will serve to regenerate an important riverside site and enhance the visual amenity of this section of the river.“

He added: “The mix of uses and architectural features within the immediate vicinity provides an opportunity to introduce a development of contemporary design and scale which will add interest to the river frontage and provide benefits to the city by developing this brownfield site.

“The development endorses the policy objectives by contributing towards the continued viability and vitality of the wider area.

“Accordingly, the proposal is recommended for the grant of planning permission.”

City leader, Councillor Ian Brown, welcomed the development.

He said: “Hopefully this will go forward because it is such a prominent site. Invernessians hold this close to their heart and just see it as a waste at the moment.”

Stewart Nicol, Inverness Chamber of Commerce chief executive, stressed the area’s economic importance.

“It looks tired and an eyesore and needs fixed and is in a very prominent location, so it would be good to see something there rather than what we currently have.

“There are signs that it remains a prestige development, which is great for the city. When it happens there will be construction jobs and operational jobs when it is up and running. It would be good to see this intent come to fruition.”

Meanwhile, at the same meeting, developer William Gray is seeking permission to construct 31 flats and two retail units on nearby Academy Street.

The buildings are listed, but planning officials recommend approval in a bid to revive the Old Town area of Inverness.

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