Renewal of expansion plans at Inshes Retail Park in Highland capital recommended for refusal by Highland Council officers
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Controversial plans for a major expansion at an out-of-town retail park in Inverness are being recommended for refusal by council officers.
Planning permission in principle to develop shops, a public house and restaurant, community allotments plus car parking and new access roads next to Inshes retail park was given in 2017 following a public inquiry.
Aberdeen Standard Investments has now applied for a three-year extension to enable further applications regarding planning conditions to be approved.
But planning officers will recommend the application is rejected when it is discussed at Highland Council's south planning applications committee next Tuesday.
In their report, they maintain it have "a significantly adverse impact on the vitality and viability of Inverness City Centre" which would be contrary to local development plans and Scottish planning policy.
"This is by virtue of the scale of this out of centre development, the prevailing Inverness City Centre vacancy rate and the availability of sequentially preferable sites," they state.
Officers also say the development has not been demonstrated to be free from the one-in-200 year flood risk event plus climate change, and that the development is capable of being adequately drained with sufficient surface water run-off treatment.
The application has attracted 14 representations of which nine were objections, one in support and four neutral.
Objections included an adverse impact on traffic and road safety, the design being orientated towards private cars with a lack of active travel provision and the impact on nearby homes including noise, air and light pollution.
In support, it was stated a restaurant would offers greater choice within walking distance for residents.
The council's development plans team does not support the proposal, noting it almost five years since the appeal decision, and almost eight years since the initial application.
It maintains it is important the council re-assesses the application on its merits in the current, significantly changed context with major changes including the Covid-19 pandemic which has accelerated the decline of town and city centre retail and the council declaring a climate and ecological emergency, meaning all development having a role to play in achieving net zero.
Should the renewal application not be granted, the developer would still have until March 31 2023 to proceed.