Inverness Castle now under council ownership ahead of transformation

The Highland Council has completed the purchase of the South Tower of Inverness Castle, paving the way for the next stage of the building’s transformation into a visitor attraction.

Inverness Castle now under council ownership ahead of transformation

The Provost of Inverness, Helen Carmichael, receiving the ceremonial key to the Castle’s South Tower from Sheriff Principal Pyle, Sheriffdom of Grampian, Highland and Islands, together with cabinet secretary for rural economy and tourism, Fergus Ewing MSP, and Cllr Margaret Davidson, leader of The Highland Council

The transformation of the Castle is supported by a £15 million Scottish Government investment through the Inverness and Highland City Region Deal. It will create a gateway for Highland tourism, contributing to reinvigoration of tourism across the area and providing much needed investment for the industry as the recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic begins.

The next significant step for the project will be the award of a tender for a contractor to carry out initial demolition work, asbestos surveys, timber preservation surveys and structural checks, called an ‘enabling works contract’, with work beginning when lockdown guidelines allow.

In advance of the enabling works, today will also see the start of the installation of hoardings around the castle as it becomes a building site. The hoardings are expected to remain in place for the duration of the building period of up to four years.

The project follows the move of the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service to the new Inverness Justice Centre earlier this spring.

Provost of Inverness and Area, Cllr Helen Carmichael, said: “The Inverness Castle project is key for the regeneration of the tourism economy across the Highland region. I am delighted that the acquisition of the South Tower has now been completed, marking the next step in the transformation of this iconic building.

“With the impact of the pandemic being felt throughout our area, it is more important than ever that we create this ‘must-see’ attraction that will draw visitors to the Highlands in years to come.”

Tourism secretary Fergus Ewing, co-chair of the Inverness Castle Delivery Group, said: “The Scottish Government has been a long-time supporter of the development of Inverness Castle through the City Region Deal, engagement with key public bodies and through our direct involvement in the project.

“We know the Castle has the potential to be one of Scotland’s top tourist attractions, benefitting the wider Highlands as well as Inverness itself, and I welcome that work has now reached another key stage on this major development.”

UK Government minister for Scotland David Duguid added: “It’s fantastic that another milestone has been reached in the transformation of Inverness Castle. This exciting project will capitalise on the region’s wealth of natural and cultural heritage and attract visitors from far and wide.

“The UK Government is creating opportunities and unlocking growth across Inverness and the Highlands by investing £53m into the City Region Deal. We are delivering more than £1.4bn of investment into Growth Deals across Scotland, supporting the future of our economy.”

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