Plans for new Highland township with thousands of homes take important step forward

Plans to expand a new Highland township near Inverness have taken a step forward with developers seeking bids from housebuilders for two parcels of land.

Planning permission was obtained nine years ago for the new town of Tornagrain, comprising nearly 5,000 homes alongside schools, shops, social and community facilities. Today, the first neighbourhood village is well on the way to completion with approaching 300 homes, community and recreation facilities, shops, a café and a nursery school.

Shepherd Chartered Surveyors has now been instructed by Moray Estates, which is behind the long-term plans, to invite bids from housebuilders for two parcels of land at Tornagrain. Both parcels comprise part of the second phase of development of the masterplan for the new town. Key elements of the second phase masterplan include a “high-quality public realm” realised through landscape design, a permeable layout providing “ease of movement and well composed streets” and a mix of private and affordable dwellings with a varied range of accommodation types.

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Andrew Howard, managing director of Moray Estates, said: “Tornagrain has been designed to be an enduring and sustainable town, which builds on the architectural and planning traditions of Scotland and the Highlands. We wish Tornagrain to be a model town for the 21st century, fostering a vibrant and successful community. This development is setting a new standard and vastly improved quality of development.”

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Neil Calder, partner in the Inverness office of Shepherd Chartered Surveyors, said: “This is a unique opportunity for developers to become involved in what is a landmark development opportunity. To date, the estate has worked with two housebuilders, Places for People and A&J Stephen. The time is now right to broaden the opportunity to other like-minded housebuilders, and so additional serviced land is being marketed.

“The estate is releasing two separate sites with a capacity for around 75 and 150 units respectively. Bidders are invited to prepare and submit a commercial offer to Tornagrain for either block of land. The invitation is to bid separately for either block, or collectively for both.”

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Tornagrain is expected to take 50 years to complete and will provide a town similar in size to Nairn or Forres. The first houses were completed four years ago and earlier this year a landmark moment was achieved with the completion of the 250th home. Tornagrain lies to the south of the A96, Inverness Airport and the associated business park. A new railway station is currently being built on land north of the A96, on the Inverness to Aberdeen line. The station is due to open at the end of this year and will be connected to Tornagrain by an active travel link and a bus route.

Steve Barnett, managing partner at Shepherd Chartered Surveyors, added: “Since inception, we note that Moray Estates’ aim for the Tornagrain development has been not only to create a new planned town but to fundamentally provide a townscape where the residents can build a sustainable and resilient community.”

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Moray Estates has been building Tornagrain since 2018, with plans in place to continue expanding over several decades.

Moray Estates comprises the estates and properties of the Earl of Moray and his family.

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