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Planning green light for landmark Highland castle transformation

By Louise Glen

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An architects impression of the South Tower Roof Terrace.
An architects impression of the South Tower Roof Terrace.

The Highland Council today granted approval for a planning application that will see the transformation of Inverness Castle to become a tourism gateway for the Highlands.

This application covered the works necessary to restore the Category A Listed building and convert it for use as a new visitor attraction.

In approving the application, the Highland Council south planning applications committee noted that: "The quality of the proposed design is considered to be very high, with a standard of architecture which should complement and enhance the listed building, while still remaining visually subservient to it.

"The flexibility of the new uses for the building should ensure a long-term sustainable future for the building, the redevelopment of which is seen as a key project of the council’s strategy for development in the city centre."

Submitted by project architects LDN Architects, the application is in preparation for the main building works contract which will be subject to a tender process beginning in the next few weeks.

A spokesman for Highland Council continued: "Given potential impacts arising from Brexit and the Covid–19 pandemic, the programme of works for the main tender will not be finalised until completion of the tender process.

"The proposed works currently include the careful conservation of the building fabric, accessibility and environmental upgrades and contemporary new additions.

"In addition, the proposed works include a new café space and external viewing terraces that, combined, will transform Inverness Castle into a cultural centrepiece to be enjoyed by the public.

"All timings on the project subject to change, depending on the findings of the ongoing enabling works contract, due for completion in spring 2021,and the impact of the pandemic. The enabling works underway involve demolition work, asbestos surveys, timber preservation surveys and structural checks.

"The transformation of Inverness Castle will contribute to the reinvigoration of tourism across the area and providing much needed investment for the industry to aid the recovery from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"The project will support economic growth throughout the Highland area, creating a sustainable, viable and “must-see” attraction that will celebrate the spirit of the Highlands."

READ: Transformation of Inverness Castle into major tourist attraction celebrating spirit of the Highlands recommended for approval

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