Plans unveiled for £6.4m transformation of Inverness hotel

Maple Court HotelPlans for a £6.4 million transformation of an historic Inverness hotel have been lodged with Highland Council.

Patio Hotel Group wants to turn the nine-bed B-listed Maple Court Hotel on the banks of River Ness into a four star, 50-room, hotel with a restaurant.

A design statement for the proposal by Colin Armstrong Associates states the applicants will turn the Ballifeary Lane building back into a viable business after it has fallen into an ‘appalling state of repair’.

It is expected to be closed and boarded up next month.

It states: “This development will enable the renovation of the existing listed building and expand the business to preserve this building for years to come.

“It will provide a sustainable business that will be able to maintain the building and provide constant investment safeguarding the building’s future.”

The 19th-century guest house was the former home of Dr William Simpson, provost of the ancient royal burgh of Inverness.

The statement said preserving the building is of ‘utmost importance’ and current ceilings, cornices and other features will be retained.

Tony Story, managing director of Patio Hotel Group, highlighted the need for more hotels in the area.

“There is no doubt more accommodation like this is needed,” he said.

“Maple Court has had two previous business failures and a history of planning applications, none of which have come to anything.

“We want to create a high-quality hotel which will be a successful business but to do that it needs more rooms, that is why the current model hasn’t worked.

“This will allow us to save the existing building and bring it back into use.”

Previous requests to develop the area have attracted complaints about over development in the River Ness area, as well as concerns about the loss of mature trees to make way for the extension.

But Mr Story pointed out many of the trees which will be cut down are damaged and have been poorly maintained. He added that architects have worked closely with planning officials to make sure the development is not intrusive to the scenic river area.

“The trees have not been maintained and what we have proposed does not go any further than previous applications which have been approved,” he said.

“We have really walked it through with planners so I’m very hopeful they will give this support.”

If planning permission is approved later this year, the developers hope to start work next spring and be open to guests in early 2018.

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