Statutory applications lodged for Inverness Castle transformation project
Statutory applications for the planned transformation for Inverness Castle to become a tourism gateway for the region have now been lodged with the Highland Council.
Submitted by project architects LDN Architects, the applications for listed building consent and building warrant approval are in preparation for the main building works contract. This contract will be subject to a tender process beginning in spring of 2021
The applications cover the works necessary to restore the Category A Listed building and convert it for use as a new visitor attraction. Given potential impacts arising from Brexit and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the council said the programme of works for the main tender will not be finalised until completion of the tender process.
However, at present, the proposed works include the careful conservation of the building fabric, accessibility and environmental upgrades and contemporary new additions. In addition, the proposed works include a new café space and external viewing terraces that, combined, will transform Inverness Castle into a cultural centrepiece to be enjoyed by the public.
All timings are subject to change, depending on the findings of the ongoing enabling works contract (due for completion in spring 2021) and the impact of the ongoing pandemic. The enabling works underway involve demolition work, asbestos surveys, timber preservation surveys and structural checks.
The transformation of Inverness Castle is supported by £15 million Scottish Government and £3m UK Government investment through the Inverness and Highland City Region deal. It aims to create a gateway for Highland tourism, contributing to reinvigoration of tourism across the area and providing much needed investment for the industry to aid the recovery from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The project will support economic growth throughout the Highland area, creating a sustainable, viable and “must-see” attraction that will celebrate the spirit of the Highlands.
Provost of Inverness and Area, Cllr Helen Carmichael, said: “The Inverness Castle project is vital to the regeneration of our city centre and the wider tourism economy of the Highland region. It is exciting to see the progress towards the Inverness Castle becoming a ‘must-see’ attraction that will draw visitors to the Highlands.”
Tourism secretary Fergus Ewing, who co-chairs the Inverness Castle Delivery Group, said: “The Inverness Castle project is a critical part of the revitalisation of the tourism economy of the Highlands. The Scottish Government is committed to supporting the ongoing renovations and has provided £15 million to this proposal through the Inverness and Highland City Region Deal. I am pleased to see this latest milestone reached and look forward to seeing the renovations take shape.”
UK Government minister David Duguid said: “The transformation on Inverness Castle will deliver a tremendous boost for the region. I was impressed when I visited the development last year, and I am glad to hear that good progress continues to be made. Projects like this are vital to our economic recovery from coronavirus and the UK Government is investing £1.5 billion to support them across Scotland.”