IJC1The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) said it has improved the designs of its proposed Inverness Justice Centre as the plans are set to be unveiled to the public.

Designed by Reiach & Hall Architects, the two-storey justice centre is to be developed on the site of a former bus depot between Longman Road and Burnett Road to the north of Burnett Road Police Station after councillors gave the project planning permission in February.

SCTS said its confident that the new planning proposal presents an improved design in keeping with what will be a “landmark building” in the city. The new design addresses planning conditions, is more efficient in the use of accommodation and provides attractive public space, along with improved access via a drop-off area, additional parking and disabled spaces, it added.

IJC2The new plans for what will be Scotland’s first purpose-built justice centre are being made available for public consultation before being reviewed by Highland Council’s planning committee.

SCTS chief executive Eric McQueen said: “Rather than simply a replacement sheriff court building, the justice centre will play a pivotal role in changing victims’, witnesses’ and offenders’ experience of the justice system, while providing high quality secure criminal courts, and flexible accommodation for our civil courts and tribunal users.

“By bringing together the right organisations, we can all focus on problem-solving approaches to reduce reoffending and increase the opportunity for community sentencing, while providing the facilities and technology to remove the need for children to appear in court and in the longer term, digital case management for summary crime.”

Justice secretary Michael Matheson added: “We are working with SCTS to deliver a justice system that is accessible and fit-for-purpose and the new Inverness Justice Centre will give the people of the Highlands access to modern facilities and support all in the same place, making a positive impact for local communities.

“I would encourage anybody with an interest in the proposals to go to the public exhibition and make sure they have their say.”

IJC3In addition to the direct justice benefits, the location of the justice centre will help transform the surrounding area, with the transfer of Inverness Castle to the Highland Council ownership stimulating economic growth for the city as it works in partnership with the Scottish Government and other public bodies to develop a major tourism attraction.

Construction is planned to begin in late 2017 with contractor Robertson Construction to complete the main building works in 2019.

The public exhibition will take place on June 22 in the Magnus Room, Royal Highland Hotel, 18 Station Square, Academy St, Inverness IV1 1LG from 3pm – 7pm.