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'IT'S FANTASTIC NEWS!' said Mike Smith, BID Manager

Bridge Street site purchase facilitates city centre regeneration and Inverness Castle development 

(Published 4th June by The Highland Council)

Plans for the purchase of a significant site on the southern side of Inverness’ Bridge Street were unveiled by The Highland Council today. The purchase, announced by Mrs Margaret Davidson, Leader of The Highland Council, and Mr Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity, will support the development of Inverness Castle and the regeneration of the surrounding area of the city centre. 

The development of Inverness Castle – spirit of the Highlands is a vital part of the regeneration of Inverness city centre and will be a gateway for Highland tourism. It will support economic growth in the city and throughout the Highland area. The vision for the new attraction is to create a sustainable, viable and “must-see” attraction that will celebrate the spirit of the Highlands. 

The Inverness Castle project forms part of the Inverness and Highland City-Region deal which is a joint initiative supported by up to £315m investment from the UK and Scottish governments, The Highland Council, HIE and University of the Highlands and Islands, aimed at stimulating sustainable regional economic growth. 

The purchase price for the site (located on the southern side of Bridge Street, Inverness) is made up of borrowing by The Highland Council and a contribution of £1.5m from Scottish Government (through Inverness and Highland City Region Deal). 

Mrs Margaret Davidson, Leader of The Highland Council, said: “I am absolutely delighted to be able to make this important announcement today. The Highland Council has agreed to purchase this site, given its importance for the economic growth of both Inverness and the Highlands.  This has been a long-held ambition and I would like to thank those involved in making this a reality. 

“With support from Scottish Government through the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal, we are ensuring the Highland economy benefits from tourism for the long term. This purchase will help us to achieve our vision for this iconic site and Inverness Castle’s place as part of a range of tourism assets this region has to offer. Together with partners, we will be consulting with the community and stakeholders about the options for developing the site in the months to come.”

 Rural Economy Secretary Mr Fergus Ewing said:

“I am delighted to be making this announcement today. It marks the culmination of a key part of four years of collaborative work between the Scottish Government, The Highland Council and our public bodies.  Inverness Castle is a key project within the £135 million invested by Scottish Government as part of the Inverness and Highland City Region Deal, which will continue to deliver significant long-term benefits not only for the region, but to the future prosperity and economic growth of Scotland as a whole.

“This will create a once in a generation opportunity for future redevelopment for the city and the Highlands to create something special of high architectural value - precisely the opposite of the existing buildings. £1.5 million of the Scottish Government’s City Region Deal investment will be used to fund the redevelopment of Upper Bridge Street which marks another important step in turning Inverness Castle into an attraction of international importance that both the people of Inverness and the Highlands more widely can be proud of. The Scottish Government has supported the proposal from the outset and will continue to do so.”  

Mr Ian Ross, Vice-Chair, High Life Highland, said:

“As part of the Inverness Castle – spirit of the Highlands project, High Life Highland is delighted that this purchase signals a significant step in the development of Castle from its current use as a court house to a visitor attraction. We are pleased to be working as part of a team of organisations throughout the Highlands and beyond to design and create a must-see visitor attraction that celebrates the spirit of the Highlands – past, present and future, including its creativity, well-being, culture, heritage and natural environment.”

 

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