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Highland capital lacks rooms to meet hotel demand says expert ahead of controversial decision on Ironworks site bid


By Andrew Dixon

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The redrawn proposal for a Courtyard By Marriott hotel at the Ironworks site on Academy Street
The redrawn proposal for a Courtyard By Marriott hotel at the Ironworks site on Academy Street

The £30 million investment in a proposed new hotel in Academy Street is justified by Inverness being at the forefront of visitor accommodation expansion in Britain, according to an international expert in the industry.

Tomorrow Highland Council’s south planning applications committee will consider an application by Bricks Group to build a Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, for which approval is recommended by officials.

Council officials are recommending the bid to create the new seven-storey, 155-bedroom hotel on the site of the Ironworks venue is approved.

Marc Finney, head of hotels and resorts at Colliers International, a key industry analyst, said: "The market in Inverness has bounced back quickly and strongly and average revenue is comfortably ahead of pre-pandemic levels.

“Dependent on category, room occupancies are slightly below 2019 levels but continue to build. Average rates are markedly higher and income growth is outstripping cost growth.

“The Inverness market continues to lack supply, particularly in the mid-scale and economy sectors. The new Marriott due to open later his year will not help much at this level."

Invernessian Allan Davidson, Bricks’ chief operating officer, said: "City hotels are booming just now, further underlining Marc Finney’s expert judgement that there remains good scope to grow the Inverness market. Our new hotel would be a key building block in this further development of the city and the Highlands as a visitor destination.

“We’ve stayed committed to this project, and Bricks fund their own new hotel developments, a significant advantage as it guarantees that if and when planning consent is secured, the project will actually happen.”

He added: "Painstakingly close work with planners and the council’s design review panel over a sustained period has seen us make the necessary changes which have enabled this positive recommendation.”

Mr Davidson added: "This hotel represents a significant inward investment to the city which would also enhance the city centre retail and hospitality footfall.”


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