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New vision for derelict Inverness city centre building in the shadow of Inverness Castle

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The Inverness Courier 

10th August 2019

A REDEVELOPMENT plan for a derelict site in the shadow of Inverness Castle has been hailed as an exciting way to regenerate the city centre.

Following on from the award-winning Raining’s Stairs development off Castle Street and ongoing building work at the former Farmfoods site in Academy Street, a new application has been submitted to create flats at another Castle Street site, behind the Chisholm Highland Dress Shop. The application seeks permission to partially demolish the current building contained within a courtyard to the rear of Chisholm’s while retaining the facade.

Led by Highland Housing Alliance (HHA), the plans to create eight flats plus retail space have been welcomed by community leaders.

As the high street retail sector continues to struggle, residential development in areas normally thought suitable for commercial use is becoming an increasingly popular alternative.

Mike Smith, the manager of Inverness Business Improvement District, said: “I think it’s an innovative way of regenerating the existing building as well as remaining sympathetic to that building and its history – and that of the surrounding buildings. The building has seen better days and this is a way of bringing it back into use.”

Crown and City Centre Community Council chairwoman Pat Hayden added: “Anything to regenerate the city centre.

“It is wonderful what is being proposed and it is for the good of Inverness. Castle Street is a perfect example of what can be done. We need more of this.”

Gail Matheson, chief executive at Highland Housing Alliance, said: “We are keen to see redevelopment of city centre sites and have delivered homes in a number of locations throughout Inverness, including Raining’s Close and the current development at Academy Street. “Retaining the homes for mid-market rent will ensure that people who are struggling to get a mortgage or home in a central location will benefit from high-quality city centre apartments with fantastic outlooks.”