Green light for major justice centre in the Highlands
The Scottish Government is to invest £5 million into the construction a major new justice centre in Inverness following approval in this week’s Budget.
The new Inverness Justice Centre will offer a range of digital and other justice services throughout the Highlands, bringing together justice and other bodies and providing a hub for justice technology.
The move will also free up the iconic Inverness Castle building for other uses.
The development will create a stronger community justice approach by co-locating justice partners and third sector organisations in the same building and will provide services for offenders as well as creating specialist facilities and support for victims and witnesses of domestic abuse, sexual violence and child abuse.
The design of the new centre is now underway with a projected completion date of three years.
Justice secretary Michael Matheson said: “I am committed to delivering a justice system that is accessible, modern and fit-for-purpose and I am delighted that, with the development of the new Inverness Justice Centre, we are providing facilities that will enable us to deliver a truly 21st century service. By working with the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service to create a justice centre and co-locating the court with other justice partners, the people of Inverness and the wider highlands have access to modern facilities and co-ordinated support and service from the relevant organisations.
“We know this is a development that works – a similar example in Livingston has been hugely successful – and I look forward to the positive impact this will have for our communities across the Highland and beyond.”
The relocation of Inverness court to the centre is paving the way for the development of Inverness Castle as an important new tourism attraction for the Highlands.
The government has been working with Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service, Highland Council and others to have Inverness Castle freed up as a visitor attraction, wedding venue and self-catering accommodation.
Tourism minister Fergus Ewing added: “The court’s relocation from Inverness Castle brings an exciting opportunity to develop a major new tourism attraction in the Highlands. The working group which I co-chair has helped develop a number of proposals currently out for public consultation and this announcement adds a renewed focus to the process of developing what could be a world class tourism attraction.
“We want to see a new life for the castle that builds on its existing attraction, offering to visitors and locals alike a quality offering that encourages tourists to both visit and stay longer in the city. This will be a future use that takes into account the views of local people but also welcomes input from those further afield, recognising that Inverness Castle has the opportunity to benefit not just the Highlands, but Scotland as a whole.”